Chicago

Date 16th May 2019
Society Caprian Theatre Company
Venue Gateshead Little Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Joan Oldfield
Musical Director Enid Stafford
Choreographer Rachael Tait

Report

Author: Foster Johnson

After missing out on the production of an Annual Show in 2018 The Caprian Theatre Company returned with a bang this year with their interpretation and fine production of Chicago, which was played out before a rapturous and enthusiastic sold out audience.

The move away from what the Company themselves describe as their usual approach to stage productions (Principals and Chorus) to that of ensemble and their desire, as encapsulated in their programme notes, “to take part in big production numbers, whilst giving everyone the opportunity to develop and interpret their own role” really paid dividends. Whilst this was the case they still needed expert advice and guidance to do so, and this came from the right team to deliver, namely the hands of Director/Choreographer Joan Oldfield, Musical Director Enid Stafford and Choreographer Rachael Tait

All those who know the production are au fait with the need for it to be  free flowing and delivered with a tempo that reflects the era in which it is set, and from a cast in tune with such setting. The pace of this production was fine, the musical numbers and associated choreography being delivered crisply and extremely well by the talented cast of 20 not one of whom failed to deliver. To make it flow even better the set was simple and easy to manoeuvre and what it lacked in substance was more than made up for with fine stage and set lighting.

As for the cast themselves the lead roles fell to Eve McRoberts (Velma Kelly) Lindsay Kellegher (Roxie Hart) Gareth Lilley (Billy Flynn) Mama Morton (Andrea Riley) Mary Sunshine (Ian Mordue) and Amos Hart (Andrew Howe). Eve was cast in the role of the vamp and murderess Velma whose status as the cell block leader is undermined by the arrival of Roxie and carried it off perfectly. with some great renditions musically and choreographically of “And All That Jazz”, “I Can’t Do It All Alone” “Class” and Nowadays”. Lindsay as the devious, cunning and manipulative and butter would not melt in my mouth Roxie was as usual at her very best in the role and her interpretation of the part was cleverly demonstrated and delivered in “Funny Honey”, “Nowadays” and in particular as the puppet of Billy in “We Both Reached For The Gun.”

Gareth as the smooth talking Attorney Billy fitted seamlessly into the role and was at ease demonstrating his excellent acting prowess in “All I Care About” and “Razzle Dazzle” It was nice to see Andrea in an earthier role as Mama Morton the Cell Block Matron. She tackled the role head on and had the audience’s attention with her gritty rendition of “When your Good To Mama” and “Class” Ian whose talent is without question and there for all to witness was ideally cast as Mary Sunshine and his interpretation of “A Little Bit Of Good “and “We Both Reached For The Gun” brought gasps from the audience, but in a good way. Finally the role of the hapless sap and much maligned Amos fell to Andrew, and what a fine job he made of it drawing sympathy from the audience particularly when performing “Mister Cellophane” and seeking his “exit” music.

In conclusion well done to the ensemble and those with supporting parts for keeping the show racing along in the ensemble scenes of “All I Care About”, “When Velma Takes The Stand” and “Razzle Dazzle “and to the Murderesses Mellissa (Mona) Emma (Annie) Samantha (June) Rachael (Hunyak) Rachael (Liz) and Pam (Go To Hell Kitty) for their respective roles throughout and   along with the ensemble in a super version of “Cell Block Tango “