Razzle Dazzle with Chicago at Her Majesty’s

PHOTO: Jeff Busby

Broadway’s longest running musical, Chicago, has opened at Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre. 

The production has performed in Melbourne several times but a new cast is bringing the razzle dazzle once again, and they are dressed to kill. 

You’ve got theatre royalty, screen actors who have taken to the stage and an incredibly skillful company who are all triple threats.

“We’ve assembled a star-studded cast…with Anthony Warlow, Zoë Ventoura, Lucy Maunder, Peter Rowsthorn, Asabi Goodman, S. Valeri,” John Frost AM said. 

The show opens with iconic Packed to the Rafters actor Zoë dazzling the audience with a sharp, sleek, and sexy choreography of ‘All that Jazz’, with the orchestra perched on the stage behind her in a giant jewellery box – a design by John Lee Beaty. 

What many people may not know about Zoë is that she began her career as a triple threat in musical theatre. Featuring in Grease-The Arena Spectacular, Footloose and We Will Rock You and went on to be nominated for many TV Week Silver Logies for her work on screen.

PHOTO: Jeff Busby

Not long into Act One you’re introduced to the role of Roxie Hart, played by Lucy Maunder, who is one of Australia’s most iconic leading ladies in the industry. 

Lucy brings a quirky, silly but alluring approach to the character, singing the house down to iconic tracks such as ‘Funny Honey’, ‘Roxie’ and ‘My Own Best Friend’. 

The confident and cunning character of Billy Flynn was played by Anthony Warlow, and it is fair to say the audience was completely in awe of him from the minute he walked out, singing ‘All I Care About’. 

A standout musical moment for me was ‘We Both Reached for the Gun’, featuring Lucy and Anthony in a brilliant witty and sharp scene.

This is also when you’re introduced to the character of Mary Sunshine, played by S.Valeri, whose operatic vocals were destined to captivate and bring the house down. 

Asabi has previously portrayed many strong female roles, so it was no surprise when she was cast as the tough and sassy ‘Mama’ Morton. 

“I love Mama’s strength…she’s pretty strong and I love playing that strong character. I get to boss people around which I don’t usually do in my real life,” she said. 

Quite the opposite of Mamma Morton is the character of Amos Hart, played by Peter Rowsthorn who is best known for his work in the Australian classic Kath and Kim as Brett Craig. 

Peter stole the hearts of the audience when performing ‘Mister Cellophane’. With his vocals and awkward but comedically timed dance moves, it’s hard to believe he has never seen the film or show. 

“I’ve never seen it, I have heard the songs…but I don’t think I need to. After rehearsals, I feel like I’ve seen it 150 times,” Peter said. 

PHOTO: Jeff Busby

The costumes are glamorous yet simple, black with a couple of gemstones or silver jewellery, and only Roxie has a costume change after Act One. 

Continuing with the trend, there was a deliberate use of minimal props and transitions. A decision I thought was very astute.

Giving the presence of the orchestra on stage, adding more flair would risk the performance feeling overly embellished. 

So don’t be Funny Honey, head over to Ticketek and purchase your tickets because Chicago is about to be the name on everybody’s lips. 

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