Theater Review: Chicago 

Singing/dancing the bee's knees, acting flat

click to enlarge Chicago
  • Chicago

Chicago is a show for folks who like their social commentary and media criticism to come with lots of singing and dancing. Set in freewheeling 1920s Chicago, Chicago uses the tale of two gin-joint murderesses to poke fun at the justice system, the press and the very nature of celebrity.

Between its initial 1975 run and its 1996 revival, Chicago stands as one of the most successful shows in Broadway history. You may recall the film version from 2002, as well. It garnered an award or two at the time.

There are murders and slick lawyers; there are tough-talking Irish-American cops. There is more black fishnet in the costume design by Do Ault than you can shake a fish at.

The show is packed. Songs and dance numbers are pretty much back to back, utilizing an onstage jazz band to evoke a sultry Prohibition-era Chicago. Not a lot of time is wasted on, well, talking—which just might be for the best. Though the cast excels at moving, singing and, um, stage presence, the acting in the show is frequently the weak suit. Erin Royal Carlson as Velma Kelly is particularly flat in her dialogue scenes, in stark contrast to her energetic and athletic musical numbers.

Overall, however, Dark Horse’s Chicago is lively and entertaining, with exactly the right degree of cynicism hanging in the air—enough so that it’s dark, but not so much that it’s not funny.

Two numbers stand above the rest. In “We Both Reached for the Gun,” Billy (Kim Blackett) takes Roxie (Ginger Bess) as his ventriloquist’s dummy to manipulate the local press with stellar theatrical execution. In “Mr. Cellophane,” Andrew Nadon is pitch-perfect as he finally gets his moment in the spotlight—sort of—as quintessential sad sack Amos.

The show is presented in a cabaret atmosphere with adult beverages available in the lobby for consumption in the theater. Al Capone isn’t getting his cut on that action, though—it’s all on the level.

CHICAGO
Egyptian Theatre Company
328 Main, Park City
435-649-9371
Through July 29
$30-$60
ParkCityShows.com

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Rob Tennant

Bio:
Rob Tennant is a Salt Lake City freelance writer.

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