|Date||27th February 2020|
|Society||Alloa Musical Players|
|Venue||Alloa Town Hall|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Lesley Easton|
Author: Elizabeth Donald
In a 1920’s Chicago nightclub scenario, with a new MD bringing pace and a well timed musicality and a director interpreting with insight, vaudeville, prison conditions and celebrity hype, the company came together in an all singing, toe tapping show. The cast burst on to stage with ‘All That Jazz’, captured the audience and never looked back taking ‘Tap Dance’ ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and other big numbers in their stride. The simple set with fixed scaffold platform and doors below created the dark and brooding ambience for murder, speakeasy and prison. Lesley Kettles as the red-haired Roxie who murdered her lover and was sent to prison, captured the self seeking chorus girl lead and sang and moved as if she owned it. She was well matched with her counterpart Laura McPherson as the nightclub star Velma, also in prison for murder and jealous of Roxie’s celebrity, who oozed frustration and resentment at her lack of recognition. In this she had affinity with Gavin Orr as Amos who excelled in the portrayal of Roxie’s husband - ignored, sidelined, used, and whose rendering of ‘Mr Cellophane’ was one of the highlights. Equally embracing her role was Kirsty Gillies whose combined seductiveness and ruthlessness as jailhouse Mama proved a powerful mix. Likewise Alan Musgrave grasped the ruthless aspects of his role as Billy Flynn the smooth talking, pragmatic and manipulative lawyer while Michael Coyne with high pitched voice and women’s mannerisms rejoiced in the role of Mary Sunshine. The leads were well supported by the minor principles, Richard Cook as Fred Casely and lithe dancer, Rob McDermott as Judge, Chris Cairns as Sgt Fogarty and Louise Stephenson as Go-to-hell Kitty. A memorable highlight was the Cell Block Tango gloriously performed by Madelyn Schoonover, Lesley Drury, Victoria Stephenson Lesley Caldwell and Jennie Spowage. Everyone gelled together, with great singing and well directed choreography. The ladies’ costumes, all black intimate nightwear complemented the sleaziness of the speakeasy and along with judicious lighting, especially the focus on the art deco motifs, set and maintained the vibrancy and darkness of the times. The performances were a sell out and the one I saw was a performance to be proud of.