‘Kelly’ catches the eye in an all-star cast that dazzled last night’s audience at the Playhouse. While Ali Bastian is excellent as ‘Roxie’, Tupele Dorgu is exceptional as ‘Velma Kelly’. Nicknamed ‘legs’ in her Corrie days playing factory worker Kelly Crabtree, she uses her long limbs to amazing effect and draws you hypnotically to her every time she moves.
When a cast contains so many actors from ‘continuing dramas’ (soaps) a cynic might think that they are there for their names alone but, in this case, this is certainly not true.
Ali Bastian has appeared in ‘Hollyoaks’ and ‘The Bill’, but her successful stint in ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ must have helped her prepare for the exacting choreography of ‘Chicago’.
Stefan Booth who also has the same TV credits, but starred in ‘Dancing on Ice’ plays the part of ‘Billy Flynn’ as if he was born to it. He seems to move and sing effortlessly and has stage presence in abundance.
While the part of the prison Mama is not a large one, Bernie Nolan was warmly welcomed back to the Playhouse and what was good for Mama was good for all of us. Jamie Baughan as the hapless Amos got close to stealing most of the scenes he was in and that was going some in this company.
While Bernie Nolan has had a fantastic career as a singer, the other principals deliver sultry, point numbers and belters without a flaw supported by great playing from the band which was fantastic throughout.
The audience showed their appreciation especially after the opening of the second act not just for the playing but the bits of stage business added in.
‘Chicago’ is played in cabaret style in front of the onstage band and while there is minimal scenery, the director used the space creatively. The show is full of great songs and in fact the ratio of memorable songs to merely good is very high and I would defy anyone to come out without a least a couple of numbers embedded in their musical memory.
The choreography is slick and always interesting and both principals and ensemble are excellent dancers.
This production is only in the city for a week so you will have to be quick to catch it.
‘Chicago’ is my kind of show and the enthusiastic audience seemed to agree.
Show runs to Saturday 28 April, 7.30pm (Tues-Thur), 5pm & 8pm (Fri & Sat)