Theatre in Wales

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Chicago

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff , Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff , January-18-10
Chicago by Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff After you’ve added up the calories burned by cast members in the musical Chicago, bent lawyer Billy Flynn has energy to spare.

It's because he doesn't dance much, unless you count flaunting his dubious charms in All I Care About, surrounded by the feathered floosies of Cook County Jail, as dancing.

For this show is more dance-with-song than song-and-dance, first because choreographer Bob Fosse devised the original limbs-akimbo routines in the 1970s, and second because the leading ladies are showgirls as well ass murderers - ‘vaudevillains‘, if you like..

In Scott Faris's high-octane touring production, Marti Pellow plays Billy, giving the role his vocal best but being slightly damp, damp, damp in his verbal exchanges.

Not really his fault, for choreographer Gary Chryst reproduces the spirit of Fosse's expressive steps so lovingly that Twinnie-Lee Moore as Velma and Emma Barton as Roxie, plus their leggy cell-mates and a posse of males, are in sole charge of taking your breath away.

The jazzy orchestra is raked on stage all the time and the travails of Roxie, Velma and Roxie's hapless hubbie Amos (a superb cameo by Adam Stafford) are played out in front of it with almost frantic inspiration.

Marti exudes enough of Billy's dodgy charm to stop the dancers from literally running away with themselves, for this show needs someone to calm things down. He and Stafford are helped in that department by Wendy Lee Purdy as Mama Morton and G E Weaver as the gullible magazine correspondent Mary Sunshine.

A sizzling slice of Windy City life played in overdrive. Hold on to your seat

Reviewed by: Nigel Jarrett

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