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Review – Chicago: strikes a Chord at Hayward Street

By Lilian Harrington


Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse

Music by John Kander

Lyrics by Fred Ebb

Based on the play Chicago by Maurine Dallas Watkins

Hayward Street Theatre.( BAMT Academy)

Direction & Choreography by Maureen Bowra

Script Adaptation by David Thompson

Location: 57 Hayward St. Stafford Q 4053

Season: May 20 – June 6 (some sessions sold out) Bookings: BAMT 31037438 or Tickets: $ 30 -$39

The Brisbane Academy of Music Theatre (BAMT), has taken a fresh look at the musical Chicago. It’s an entertaining vaudeville full of razzle dazzle, spirited energy and fun. It tells the story of murder, love, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery featuring the talented students from the BAMT Performance and Advanced Theatre Course.

The musical tells the story of a performer in a nightclub, who is accused of fatally shooting her faithless lover , Roxie Hart cheats on her husband Amos, convinces him to take the rap for her,(until he realizes he has been used); she’s thrown into jail, faces the death penalty, but is saved by a sleazy and skilful lawyer Billy Flynn, who demands a high fee to save her from the gallows; believing her to be carrying his child her despairing husband Amos pays up for her. She along with inmate Velma Kelly, dream of fame and fortune on stage, so her antics to free herself and help her earn some public sympathy and fame, but, cause her some conflict with celebrity inmate Velma Kelly; eventually both are acquitted and together they tread the boards.

The two female leads, Roxie Hart (Kelsey Todd) and Velma Kelly (Eleanor Grieve), are stand outs, and displayed good characterization, awesome vocals and dance skills. Strong performances were also seen by Amos Hart (Toby Redwood), Mary Sunshine (Nathaniel Savy) and Matron “Mama” Morton (Ruby Thompson) besides there was good team support from the cast as a whole, enabling movement in the production to flow very smoothly.

Bowra prepared some beautiful dance routines which were eye popping and captured the audience because they were very cleverly thought-out, leaving the audience mesmerized at times and featured great movement skills e.g. Eleanor Grieves solo dances. The actions were balanced against a simple two level black and silver set, draped in a silver curtaining effect with upper side entrances and an up stage featured entrance which was used for special moments and to highlight important entrances; along with some spot lighting and mirrors, it was effective. Some audience were seated along the edge of the stage at side café style tables and this was used to advantage at times by cast as they interacted with them.

The costume design depicted the period of the “Roaring 20’s” and presented the impression of those in a prison setting, but allowed for ease of movement and dancer diversity. The slick lawyer, Billy Flynn, played by the very confident Sam Caruna, was dressed in a smart suit and contrasted alongside the female inmates, as did the reporter Mary Sunshine (Nathaniel Savy) who was costumed in a bright yellow outfit and hat, which helped him to give a quirky interpretation to the role.

The Hayward Street Theatre is a great venue for small musical productions and events, and some recent changes Front of House have helped facilitate a welcome space for an audience , but it is a studio theatre, and seats are set very closely together in places, which makes little room to move; unfortunately, the auditorium had not been cleaned out before the evening show and this made it difficult for the incoming audience in places, but it didn’t detract from the show for as they say in theatre “the show must go on”.


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