Previously I mentioned in one of my posts that I studied Rodger and Hammerstein for my A-Levels so I was extremely excited to see ‘The Sound of Music’ to witness their marvellous work in action. Another Musical Theatre legend I studied for my exam, was 80s choreographer Bob Fosse. Fosse’s scandalous ladies with locked ankles and provocative clothing changed the Musical world forever by adhering an unknown dark theme almost aligning with Sondheim’s obsession with twisting fairytales into dark, cynical stories.
Of course, I’ve seen the movie adaptation of ‘Chicago’ and for my exam I did a huge amount of research of Fosse’s signature moves, but I had never actually seen the production brought to life on stage – so excited was an understatement. The story is pushed along by an ‘Emcee’ which is essentially a Vaudeville narrator, so I was intrigued to see how the colossal amount of numbers compared to dialogue would unfold upon the stage.
As soon as the curtain rose after the well-known ‘All that Jazz’ I was almost taken back that the entire orchestra was on the stage. I have actually seen this done in other productions before, I’ve even watched filmed productions of ‘Chicago’ on the internet that have the orchestra on stage, but I was still thrown because I couldn’t believe how much of the stage was over-taken by the ‘band stand’. I enjoyed how the ‘band stand’ was utilised throughout the production, not only for the orchestra, but also for sudden entrances/exits from the cast; it was fun and different which in turn made the production unique.
The set itself was extremely minimal, but it worked so well; personally I think if there was a colossal amount of staging then it would have completely moved the focus away from the story and the most important dancing. I was extremely excited to see numbers such as ‘Cell Block Tango’, ‘Mr Cellophane’ and ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and they most definitely did not disappoint, I laughed throughout the entire show – the cynical humour is hilarious.
Although the cast were overall highly talented, Sophie Carmen-Jones (Velma) really stood out for me, not because she was lead but because she had a terrifically tremendous voice that contrasted Hayley Tamaddon (Roxie) so well. Stars such as John Partridge (Billy Flynn) and Jessie Wallace (Matron ‘Mama’ Morton) were fantastically well trained which in turn was reflected in their wonderful singing and characterisation.
I would watch this show over and over, I am always intrigued to see how different directors see their ‘vision’ so would definitely watch it again but directed by someone else. I cannot wait to get the music playing in my car! I shall link my last theatre review here (‘The Sound of Music’).