Average fare ‘Chicago’
Everybody likes song and dance, and that’s what redeemed ‘Chicago’ from its many flaws. Some of the dance routines in the play were quite impressive, and despite the bad audio levels that made a lot of the lyrics and dialogues incomprehensible, the singers were passable.
But, for a crime drama, it managed to evoke painfully little drama or tension, and a lot of the dialogue was lost due to the actors speaking too softly, too fast, or in bewildering and inconsistent faux-American accents; or (in the crucial courtroom trial scene) because there was the sound of tap-dancing drowning out everything else.
If this were an amateur production, I’d rate it as being impressive; but as a professional production, it fell below the mark. And now that we’re done with ‘Chicago’, maybe Stagefright’s next musical should be called ‘Chennai’ so the actors can go easy on the accents.
Short of expectations
Average is what you could say of Stagefright Productions’ ‘Chicago’, and it is a pity that this play which has potential has been made into a rather sorry copy of the movie. Lack of co-ordination, not-up-to-the-mark sound engineering and not-very-synchronised though brilliant choreography and dancing made this giant team fall short of the high expectations.
The high points? Mama Morton, Amos Hart, a bit of Velma Kelly (second half), ‘Cellophane’, ‘He got it coming’, ‘Class’ and Fred Casely. The low points? ‘All that Jazz’, ‘That’s Chicago!’, Roxie’s singing, Billy (dialogue delivery, actually, just about everything about him), and a lot more.
Cannot really say a lot about the little too much of beef-cake strewn all over, as it just made it look too desperate. With more substance, the team might have managed to turn out something brilliant without trying to be scandalous.
Though it lacked in professionalism, ‘Chicago’ was a brave experiment. Subtle humour coupled with those beautifully choreographed sequences, especially the paparazzi dance (having the pencil and the paper in their hand) was in perfect sync. The courtroom scene in which Roxie faints as well as the piece of musical between Mama and Velma Kelly was thoughtfully placed and hilarious. The gorgeous girls and bare-chested men made the mercury rise, and the direction, costumes and stage were awesome. Kudos to Freddy Koikaran and Michael Muthu for that. Roxie’s performance was disappointing, but worse was the lover as well as her husband whose voice modulation left much to be desired. The person who played Billy was impressive. If only the length had been trimmed a bit and the performances improved, it would have helped.
S. Siddharth Samson
Chooliamedu High Road
Long way to go
‘Chicago’ is the first musical I’ve seen at the MetroPlus Theatre Fest, and the most obvious fact was that theatre groups in Chennai have a long way to go, technically and dramatically, before they can claim equal rights as groups from Mumbai and other places. The spotlights were constantly at the wrong places, with no one under them. However, I have to admit that having seen the movie, I was comparing the actors, dancers and sets with the movie, unfair as it was. Having said that, energy was in so much abundance in the play, and that made up for lack of experience. The director has to be applauded for going with a completely new cast, and the dancers had a brilliant time on stage.
It was courageous to choose ‘Chicago’ for the theatre fest. A great performance from the whole team. We had a very good time. Compliments to the actor who played the husband of Roxie (Amos).