"This is just what Sydney needs" my friend said clapping wildly during curtain call.
And it's too true. Sydney needs the return of edge - such as this razor sharp production of Chicago brings.
Chicago is the longest running Broadway musical of all time, and this latest John Frost production gives us all of it.
Sexy. Sharp. Smart. Smooth. Sassy.
Casting is exquisite with every performer recognized by name as the opening night audience of The Capitol Theatre gets to their feet and applauds in standing ovation. Throughout the whole show there are bellowing cheers from the appreciative audience. And the Chicago cast starring Natalie Bassingthwaighte (Roxy Hart), Alinta Chidzey (Velma Kelly), Tom Burlinson (Billy Flynn), Casey Donovan (Matron ‘Mama’ Morton’), and Rodney Dobson (Amos Hart) are roused on.
Chidzey and Bassingthwaighte are each superb and provide the perfect foil for each other - with the attention seeking duo clapping canes and prancing pins never skipping a beat of iconic Vaudevillesque timing. Chidzey belts out the melodies with attitude and plies us with her best jazz trade. Bassingthwaighte pulls us in to her sweet subtleties only to cut us with a razor when we least expect it. Perfect delivery from this pair. Neither a sexier songstress of Roxy or Velma has hit the stage or screen.
Razzle dazzle 'em Burlinson hits suave and sleazy simultaneously. Donovan gives us her best hip swiveling performance to date, pitched but pitched back with just the corner of a smile.
Yet the number that comes closest to stealing our hearts is their reflection - Mr Cellophane. For this, Dobson delivers the ultimate performance; it swings between the downtrodden outcast and a brutal cry to be heard.
And yeup, going back to it - with every cast member introduced by name - they all deserved it. They were all outstanding!
The dancing does it completely - as you can almost see the ghost of Bob Fosse standing in the wings. Tony Award winning choreographer Ann Reinking brings him back to life. Did I say almost?
And the set, the costumes, the onstage orchestra (and their interaction with the cast and integration with the performance) complete the show. The cast mix and mingle with the orchestra, sit as well as strut the stairs, wave backwards as they walk down the passages. At times the orchestra are their own stars. And they do it tight the whole show.
Chicago is TOTALLY enjoyable and entertaining - and ALL THAT JAZZ. The perfect date night, not to be missed.
Playing at the Capitol Theatre until 20 October.
Image credit Jeff Busby