Murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery. Chicago certainly makes a killing when it comes to delivering sins, sex and sass.
Set during the Prohibition-era, the international award-winning musical (boasting 6 Tony, 2 Olivier, 1 Grammy, 2 BAFTA and 6 Academy awards) is on tour until December and the stars are bringing “the old razzle dazzle” to Milton Keynes Theatre this week.
Lucky enough to be in the audience for opening night, I was quickly transported back to the roaring twenties. And I was hooked from the very first explosive entrance and titillating dance routine.
“It was 1963, when everybody called me Baby and it didn’t occur to me to mind”, says Frances “Baby” Houseman as the auditorium lights go down and the curtain goes up on Dirty Dancing at Milton Keynes Theatre.
Brought to the stage and now touring after a fabulously successful run at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End, the blockbuster 1987 dance film is a firm favourite among women of all ages.
Tickets to this coveted show were the perfect birthday treat. When my mum and I queued to enter the auditorium, it was clear that the audience was largely made up of groups of eager women. These same women would later squeal with excitement when the male lead uttered that immortal line: “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”.
It is always a cause for celebration when a new ballet is choreographed and even more so when the story is Beauty and the Beast, a magical tale that we are all familiar with.
Northern Ballet always offer great storytelling but their latest offering in particular has such a strong narrative flow that the glossy printed programme is simply a lovely souvenir, rather than a necessity to follow the plot.
Beauty and the Beast incorporates a distinctly less challenging storyline than the company’s previous show, Cleopatra, and the production embodies the fairy tale with a romantic eloquence. This a classic story, one that balances the forces of good and evil and emphasises the overarching theme that love can conquer all.
An enchanting “Shrektacular” at Shrek The Musical
Shrek The Musical is based on the 2001 DreamWorks film, a firm family favourite. Capturing the magic of animation, the show begins with sets that open up like the pages of a children’s storybook. Directed by Rob Ashford and Jason Moore at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the production brings the unforgettable film characters to life and explores their underlying feelings and motives.
A trip to theatreland is always magical but never more so than when the unlikely hero is a green ogre who finds himself caught up in a rescue mission more suited to a handsome knight in shining armour.
Settled into a brilliant front row seat, I sat back in ready anticipation as a green glow was cast onstage and Shrek ambled out from the wings, keen to tell us his story and describe the persecution he has faced.
World stage premieres are normally the preserve of the West End but Milton Keynes Theatre can boast that musical extravaganza Top Hat is making its global debut as a new stage show here in the new city this month.
Top Hat is a 1935 screwball comedy musical film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers which has been lovingly crafted for the stage, encompassing the original classic songs by Irving Berlin and a further ten from the Berlin back catalogue.
Holby City and Strictly Come Dancing star Tom Chambers (pictured, with me, below) and experienced musical theatre performer Summer Strallen take the title roles of Jerry Travers and Dale Tremont – portrayed by Astaire and Rogers in the movie.