Chicago, UK Tour – Manchester Opera House – Review

Photo by Catherine Ashmore

If my future husband ever cheats on me with six other men or annoys me popping gum, I know exactly how to deal with the bastard, and could you tell me that I was wrong? If he runs into my knife 10 times, yes, it’d be a murder, but it wouldn’t be a crime.

If you don’t know what I’m banging on about, you haven’t lived. I’m talking about the legendary, iconic musical Chicago. The UK tour of the sensual and sensationally murderous stage show is currently in Manchester and I was lucky enough to see it on Monday night.

Seriously, each second was more fabulous than the last. Chicago breathed life into every cell of my body – it was effing incredible. I can’t handle it.

Roxie Hart, a fame-hungry chorus girl, shoots the lying sneak that she’s cheating on her husband, Amos, with and lands herself in the Cook County Jail with the married murderesses of Chicago. Fellow inmates include, of course, the treacherous Velma Kelly, her co-star. Velma stabbed the filth out of her adulterous husband and his lover – her sister – after catching them performing number 17 of their sister act: the spread eagle.

Whilst in jail, Roxie finds out from Big Mama Morton, the establishment’s head, if she hires Chicago’s most handsome and notoriously enigmatic lawyer, Billy Flynn, she’s guaranteed freedom and fame. And Roxie wants both.

chicago billy flynn and roxie hart

Hayley Tamaddon played the pint-sized Roxie Hart and right from the beginning after she shoots Fred she was hilarious. I was constantly smiling at her on-stage chemistry with Billy, Velma and hey boys.

Hayley’s acting and singing talents made me completely forget that she’s a soap actress and not a stage actress. She was fabulous and I couldn’t take my eyes off her when she was rocking the firecracker’s role!

Also, she’s about a foot shorter than the delight who played Velma, so the ‘Hot Honey Rag’ finale was especially funny – yet still amazing!

Velma Kelly, portrayed by Sophie Carmen-Jones, was my favourite though. She was fierce! She had legs up to her eyeballs – those high kicks! And the dance routines!

Holy shit, did Sophie know how to demand and command attention! She’s everything I want and need from a leading lady.

Sophie was fabulous, and even though Velma is a total witch, I was rooting for her so hard. She was an antagonist that I loved. She was me.

I love me some Catherine Zeta Jones and everyone I spoke to during the interval was comparing Sophie to her, but I was having none of it. She was awesome. Better than movie Velma any day! I loved every second she was on stage. I loved her energy and her presence; it was inspiring. She gets MVP.

I was also crazy surprised by John Partridge too. After his recent stint on Celebrity Big Brother, he isn’t the public’s favourite person.

Everyone I spoke to about Chicago before last night had a bitchy comment to make or a sneer to show, but was I going to let that taint him for me? Was I balls. You lot can shut up. He was Billy Flynn. Clean slate. I’m seeing his performance. Big Brother is shit. Chicago was not.

Partridge is from a musical theatre background, so I know he knows what he’s doing, and honey, let me tell you, he was very impressive! Very, very impressive. I was certainly feeling his razzle dazzle, if you know what I mean.

Plus, he looks banging in a suit and dancing with those fricking smoking hot chorus dancers with a cane. I love a man with a cane – and that isn’t a double entendre – canes are classy AF.

chicago mama morton

Sam Bailey, Big Mama Morton, was the only part of the show I wasn’t completely wowed by. Yes, with ‘When You’re Good to Mama’ she absolute knocked my socks off (by the end), but she was kind of static during the performance. She didn’t move much or do much.

Sam filled her role well, but I wanted a little sex or pizazz. She’s Big Mama Morton! Live up to the name, sister! I wanted her to whip off the blazer, give me a shimmy and sex me up a little bit, but she didn’t. She was still fabulous, though. I definitely would have given her my money to make a phone call.

The rest of the cast were fabulous as well, including Neil Ditt who played Amos. ‘Mister Cellophane’ will always be one of my favourite songs and he totally did it justice.

Also, being the thirsty gay that I am, I have to give notable mention to the guys in the chorus who were hot as Hell and had on these super tight trousers and waistcoats without shirts – showing their biceps and their abs and their rippling pectorals… Sorry, what was I talking about? I lost my train of thought…

I was sat with my editor, Adam, and we were gasping and girding our loins every time one of them flexed or ran their hands up Roxie’s thighs… We were like little girls… Or thirsty gays.

Chicago is up there as one of the best shows I’ve seen, rivalling Wicked and The Bodyguard. I’ve never been as excited either heading to see a show, during a show, or even after a show. Every aspect of the show was amazing.

Exciting, sensual, hilariously entertaining, I cannot praise it enough. It’s currently touring the UK so you’ve ample opportunity to see it, and if you do, you’ll thank me for it, I guarantee. It was amazing!

Tickets are available on the ATG website.

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