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Theatre Review (Singapore): ‘Chicago’ the Musical

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Base Entertainment Asia starts 2017 with a bang by bringing in the 41 year old musical Chicago to the Marina Bay Sands Theatre from 8th to 26th February 2017.

Set in Chicago in the 1920’s this musical tells the tale of Roxie Hart (Lindsey Tierney) who kills her lover and ends up in a county jail with Velma (Genevieve Nicole) who’s also accused of a crime of passion.
Both ladies are represented by lawyer Billy Flynn (Matthew Goodman) whose manipulative tactics include playing up (and sometimes even making up) his clients’ sob stories to the media in order to influence the hearts of the public and jurors into excusing and acquitting these guilty women.
Timeless due to its tale of media influence, the price of fame, and how pretty faces get away with a lot of bad behaviour, Chicago has at its core an enticing and insightful story. Add to that, catchy and melodious songs filled with clever lyrics along with singers who do these numbers justice and you definitely have a captivating musical.
Usually.
This was this critic’s second time watching this musical and, although the story and songs were the same as the 2010 version that graced our shores (at the Esplanade), the direction, choreography, and dancing in this version seemed lacklustre and short on energy and charisma.
Also Tierney and Nicole seemed obviously to be ‘performing’ – especially in the dance routines – rather than being fluid and natural in their movements as musical theatre demands.
Perhaps it was gala night jitters, or perhaps Tierney and Nicole just didn’t do well in executing the dance steps, or perhaps the direction and choreography was not exciting enough – but something seemed off with this usually-enthralling musical. The je ne sais quoi was not there. The charm was missing.
Having said that, Chicago as a whole, is still a wonderful piece of work – and propped by the right cast and crew – this longest running musical will undoubtedly continue  to delight many generations to come.


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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.