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Chicago– De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Chicago, circa Al Capone, but is it? This is what our preconceptions suggest, but is in fact just as relevant today as any other. We are all probably more aware of a show that has recently celebrated its 5th birthday due to the exposure of its film adaption, starstudded cast and all the trimings that this allows, but here we have a show that is as close to the original idea as you're going to get.

A crack cast of performers that leave you blind as far as what it is you are going to get, other than what is written in the programme. No soap-stars out for a bus-mans holiday, presenters recapturing the smell of the grease paint, or well, presenters, just out! I learnt after seeing the show just how close we came to being presented with Mark 'Joe Mangel' Little as a 'Billy Flynn', I think it was. Comedian he may be, but sharp suited lawyer I can't quite picture and certainly not in place of the 'Billy' we did get. A swarve and sophisicated Cavin Cornwell, took up this mantle with great ease and besides his acting and the cut of his suit, it was his size and a voice that certainly went as low as Barry White on a good day, that secured the part.

Well let's do this properly we thought, let's send our crack team to understand what all the fuss is about. So note pads in hands (or in the case of my deputy - his head), Atomicduster went to the theatre, this was our report;

N: The tag line used to describe Chicago - The Musical, reads... "A fast paced, sexy, sassy and sophisicated story... a true razzle dazzle production... full of gliz, danger, style and a great deal of humour." Ok, an abridged encounter I admidt, with one of the best stage productions I have ever seen, here or elsewhere (and that includes the capital), but many of the descriptions used to paint this picture are those that I noted, unprompted when seeing this remarkable affair.

T: Given the vast amount of georgeous women in the audience at this show, as well as on stage, and going by the underlying subject matter of Chicago, I'm a little concerned right now. Does this influx of the fairer sex imply that they are all would be cheats, philanderers and mentally unstable ladykillers out to see how it should be done? Is my Mrs. currently hatching a plot to have me taken out with a view to getting her hands on various insurance policies currently held in my name? Or does she view my sexual prowess on a parr with the musical's 'Mr Cellophane', Amos Heart. Who told you I was paranoid?

N: So you'd place yourself on the same plane as ' Mr Cellophane', uhh? But anyway tell me about these policies... Certainly you may not be far out when you come to descibe the 'fairer sex', if they'd not had this idea on their minds before they came to the musical, they have now and as far as your 'Roxy Heart' goes you've certainly painted the picture and laid the plans in sharing with the rest of the world your inner most thoughts. But tell us about the rest of the cast...

T: One of the best stage performances I have seen in a long time was the ultra cool, seemingly flawless representation of lawer Billy Flynn as portrayed by Cavin Cornwall who is surely destined to become a big star. Every actor in this show gave an outstanding performance, but Cornwall sparkled the brightest and this, coupled with the stunning choreograpy made for a tantllising musical feast.

N: While we remain on the subject of the actors within tonight's production, it is worth noting that this cast was not one of television presenters and on-screen actors used to pull the crowds. These were time served stage actors who may not have been the impetus in the first place to come along tonight, but once the audience had experienced this production, had kept them coming back for more, in that we came to a performance mid-run and spoke to visitors who had already seen this particular performance 3 or 4 times already.

T: The directors of this show were obviously aiming this at a younger audience which they suceeded in doing, yet still managed to maintain the appeal of the show to both young and old.

N: I saw the evening's entertainment almost as a 'new pop', both audio, stageing and script did just that, enthalled theatre goers and would have been a talking point for weeks after. Something you should never and indeed neverwill forget.

If only the smallest of notes be learnt from our experience tonight, it is that spending a little more and seeing this performance in the flesh is certainly worth it. 'Don't let your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthington', but take her to the theatre and you may not be able to stop her!

Nick James and Tone E

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