Chicago

Date 21st February 2020
Society Melyncrythan Musical Theatre Company
Venue Princess Royal Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Anthony Argyle
Musical Director Matt Hampson
Choreographer Georgina Goshawk

Report

Author: Luke Spencer

This was my first invitation to an amateur production of the infamous Kander and Ebb masterpiece, Chicago. It is so iconic and has been made so famous by the film version that it has to be on point if performed by any professional company, let alone an amateur society. Therefore I was delighted to see this innovative and stripped-back production by Melyncrythan. The Princess Royal Theatre had been transformed into a 1920s jazz club space, with tables in cabaret style and some of the audience dressed for the occasion in flapper dresses and feathers abounding.

With no set, save for a tiered rostra for the very tight band and some chairs moved in and out of the performance space by the cast, the production relied entirely on the talent of the company. There was nowhere for them to hide and most of the cast were on the stage for the majority of the show, as observers and actors.

The ensemble were excellent and well-focused at all times, with some very good vocal work and on point Fosse-esque dancing. Special mention must go to Andy Burnett here who totally embodied the genre, era and essence of this musical from his movement to each facial expression.

The principals were well cast with Lauren Williams giving her all as Velma Kelly and Harmony McCarthy demonstrating a very fine voice indeed, coupled with some great movement and stage presence as Roxy Hart. Helen Morgan delivered each of her songs with class, ensuring that everyone was good to Mama Morton, and had lovely comic timing with the right amount of menace and Dale Gravell was the quintessential Amos Hart, giving a great rendition of Mr Cellophane. David Bryan gave a fabulous performance as Billy Flynn giving the entire audience that razzle dazzle and flim-flam-flumox, declaring all he cares about is love. The entire audience were thrilled by the performance of ‘Elian Wess’ aka Sean Lewis as Miss Sunshine who wowed us all with his amazing falsetto, soaring up to notes in the stratosphere, an incredible feat indeed!

A huge thank you to the entire company and many congratulations.