Chicago brings "All that jazz" to Brisbane
I have a lot of respect for anyone competing in a crowded marketplace. Such is the efforts of Blue Fish Theatrical in Brisbane. There is no shortage of musical theatre in Brisbane and Blue Fish puts up their latest offering in the Broadway classic to film adaption Chicago. It is not easy for a smaller theatre company to produce a product that can rival, compete and stand up against the multitude of musical theatre options in Brisbane right now but Blue Fish shows it has the goods.
Tony Campbell delights and triumphs at the director's helm and he offers us a deliciously grungy, black-satin and lace, gritty, sexy and swelteringly hot visioning of Chicago that speaks like a 'jazz meets S&M' fantasy through the sleazy world of murder, deceit and deception. He and his production team are to be congratulated on an unpretentious and really "stripped back" slick imagining of the Broadway classic. The play is compellingly naked, grungy with its fantastic fourteen-piece orchestra on stage and its devious and dark cavorting cast.
The addition of the band on stage is a great element to this show, it adds an edginess and the show feels seductively indie, I really appreciated and applauded the grunge and underground feel and look of the show. Instead of mirth and wizardry, Blue Fish has chosen dark, sultry, sexy and dangerous for their design and it works a treat.
Jessica Papst arrives splendidly, maliciously and amazingly as Velma Kelly. She was my favourite role in the show and an instant audience hit, her relish, her cheek and her edgy appeal was a triumphh as she exuded obvious enjoyment in bringing the salacious murderess Velma to life. She is to be congratulated on her role as she leads the cast. Joining her in a lead role as the mischievous, villainous vixen Roxy Hart was Cait Gregor who executed the role as some sort of demented Barbie-doll that is almost nightmarish. She was expert at playing the wily bimbo, she was dark, morally bankrupt and vicious, she has been able to imagine and execute Roxy well.
Wade Colbran-Thomas was handsome and charismatic as Billy Flynn, his voice was very mature and his presence was well developed. Matron Mamma Morgon was delivered with an edge of danger and hidden violence by Natalie Rideoutt. The sinister ladies of murderers row were sinfully and sexily brought to life as they romped threateningly around the dark and steamy set in various states of undress. It was a scintillating performance by the entire cast, full of sex and violence, it is dark, edgy and very switched-on.
Blue Fish has the goods to compete in a crowded marketplace and their formula for being able to sell their brand along with musical theatre companies that are much bigger than they are is to bring a tight cast together in a show that is designed marvelously on a limited budget. The stark nakedness of this show, the indie feel and the strong cohesive feeling of the cast generate a show that may not be Broadway but is delightfully wicked, heavy with underground, edgy, sexy, indie appeal, a real treat in Brisbane and a pretty damn good offering in Brisbane's crowded musical theatre circuit.
For bookings visit: http://www.bluefishtheatrical.com.au/cshow.html