Chicago, The Musical – Edinburgh Playhouse ****

Jazz hands at the ready — Chicago has rolled into town for a week long run at the Edinburgh Playhouse.

The critically acclaimed 1975 American musical by Kander and Ebb tells the story of Roxie Hart (played by the magnificent Faye Brookes of Coronation Street fame) who dreams of escaping the daily grind and her lacklustre husband, Amos (Joel Montague), for the bright lights of Chicago’s roaring 20s jazz clubs. 

But dreams don’t always go to plan, especially when there’s foul play at hand. And when Roxie brutally kills her fling, Fred Casely, she ends up in the slammer. She’s not alone though, here Roxie meets embittered performer Velma Kelly (performed by the superb Djalenga Scott) and her fellow incarcerated cronies. 

But how could a murderess dreaming of being the star of her own show escape the death penalty? Matron ‘Mama’ Morton has the answer. Portrayed by the legendary pop star Sinitta Malone, Mamma introduces Roxie to Billy Flynn (West End veteran and TV star Darren Day), a charismatic attorney who boasts some questionable ethics to make superstars out of his death row clients. We’ll leave you guessing whether or not Roxie gets off with murder.

Sinatra delivers a pure class act as Mamma though. Cool, classy and with powerhouse vocals, Simon Cowell’s right-hand woman is back on stage and brings some show stealing performances. Darren Day’s return to the theatre is very much welcomed too. He plays the cocky crooner with all the confidence and style that shows why he’s still a big name in show business. 

Of course a dazzling production such as Chicago would be nothing without its musical numbers and you can expect all the classics from All That Jazz to Cell Block Tango in this incredibly slick show. There’s always something special when the orchestra is involved in the onstage show too instead of being hidden in the pit, and Chicago’s orchestra carries the show with their incredible on-stage delivery and good spirits throughout.

Chicago has now played in 36 countries worldwide and has been performed in every language from English to Korean. It’s estimated around 33 million people worldwide have joined the ol’ razzle dazzle of this sensational show so don’t miss your chance to join this star-studded production on the Edinburgh leg of its UK-wide tour.

Chicago is on at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday 2 October

Words: Aimee Stanton

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