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Review – Chicago: sassy, sophisticated and sexy as ever

Tom Burlinson and company. Photo by Jeff Busby

Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Casey Donovan and Alinta-Chidsey. Photo by Peter Brew Bevan.


Book by Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse

Lyrics by Fred Ebb

Music by, John Kander

Original production directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse

Lyric Theatre

Queensland Performing Arts Centre

South Bank


Season: November 13- December 7. Running time 2hrs 30mins (with interval). Bookings: or phone 136 246

The multi-award winning musical Chicago is as sassy, sophisticated and sexy as ever in a new John Frost production.

The opening night audience welcomed the familiar cocktail of brassy, black stocking paraded sirens and much loved 1920s razzmatazz like an old friend.

The bravos started as soon as the curtain went up and continued unrelentingly until the final standing ovation as the energetic cast and orchestra took their well deserved bows.

Along the way we heard the familiar jazz age sounds of All That Jazz, Cell Block Tango, When You’re Good to Mama, All I Care About Is Love, Razzle Dazzle and novelty songs such as Mary Sunshine’s A Little Bit of Good and the Amos Hart show stopper Mister Cellophane.

For those who have been living under a musical theatre rock since Chicago opened on Broadway in 1975 (it premiered in Australia in 1981), the musical tells a rollicking story of murder, greed, adultery and would be celebrity.

Roxy Hart (Natalie Bassingthwaighte) is a pretty wannabe, married to plain old Amos (Rodney Dobson), who shoots her lover and looks for celebrity through the justice system with a little help from her friends and enemies including shifty lawyer Billy Flynn (Tom Burlinson).

The lady killers in Cook County Jail each get a chance to announce themselves courtesy of the Cell Block Tango under the watchful eye of Matron Mother Morton (Casey Donovan).

Taking of watchful eyes a special mention should go to the 14-strong Chicago Orchestra, on stage throughout, under the guidance of musical director and conductor Daniel Edmonds.

The singing and dancing throughout has as much spit and polish as the converted Melbourne Cup, run this week, as both the stars and ensemble pull out all the stops in a high energy performance.

Watch out for the mystery of Miss Mary Sunshine (J. Furtado) and don’t overlook Rodney Dobson’s charming Amos, although the girls and Billy Flynn have the lion’s share of the song and dance.

Chicago’s remarkable award tally includes six Tonys, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy, but more importantly it’s a much loved crowd pleaser that will keep on giving for many years to come.

The cast and crew have been faithful to the original – Bob Fosse’s signature is written all over this production – but as they say if it ain’t broke why fix it?

It’s only here until December 7 and it’s among the best of American musical theatre so catch it if you can.