A good-time feel with Chicago

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Chicago, Sunderland Empire

THE 2012 production of world-famous musical Chicago has hit the region – and it is definitely a must-see show.

For the uninitiated, the show tells the story of roaring 20s, nightclub singer Roxie Hart who shoots her lover and along with cell block rival, double-murderess Velma Kelly, they fight to keep from death row with the help of smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn.

Star of the show is former Coronation Street star Tupele Dorgu as Velma Kelly, the role played by Catherine Zeta-Jones in the Hollywood film version.

The former Corrie actor played feisty Kelly Crabtree for six years, but makes the leap as the fiery high-kicking murderess with aplomb.

Dorgu is indeed, a practised stage performer, having sung and danced in other musicals including Mamma Mia and La Cage Aux Folles.

And here, her voice is huge and sassy, while her dance moves are effortlessly energetic. In 20s parlance, the girl sure is a flapper!.

Ali Bastian (Hollyoaks, The Bill) who plays Roxie Hart was taken ill and her place was taken by understudy Chloe Ames who did an excellent job.

Stefan Booth (EastEnders, The Bill, Hollyoaks) puts in a fine performance as the money-grabbing manipulative Billy Flynn, and at one point, he holds a note which seems to go on for eternity.

Bernie Nolan is good, though a little under used as the prisoners’ head honcho, Mama Morton.

But the true star of the show is the music and dance routines. Songs including And All That Jazz, Razzle Dazzle and When You’re Good To Mama are full of memorable tunes, funny one-lines and a good-time feel.

A fantastic show all round.

Chicago continues at the Sunderland Empire up to and including this Saturday, March 31. Tickets are priced £13.50 - £35. Call 0844871 3022 or book online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland.

– Martha Kennedy