MURDER GREED CORRUPTION VIOLENCE EXPLOITATION ADULTERY TREACHERY… AND ALL THAT JAZZ

R U T H I E   H E N S H A L L      U T E  L E M P E R

HENRY GOODMAN     NIGEL PLANER    MEG JOHNSON  

 

When I did my review on the Broadway production I said that this is my all time favorite score. Kander & Ebb wrote a fabulous and exciting score that works wonderfully on stage.

This production is the same I saw on Broadway. The cast changed and so did the orchestra, which is much more fun here, with the maestro being absolutely crazy.

Leading the cast I saw Ruthie Henshall and Ute Lemper. Both well-known names, the former is one of West End's best musical actresses, the other a famous cabaret singer. Both are in perfect shape, but while in the Broadway production the show belonged to Bebe Neuwirth's Velma Kelly, here the shows belongs to Henshall's Roxie Hart. Lemper is a good singer and a good dancer, but to be as good as Neuwirth she has to be a fabulous dancer and a good actress. So Velma's big numbers aren't as strong here as they were on Broadway. ALL THAT JAZZ is still exciting and CELL BLOCK TANGO is still funny, but they don't have the power that Neuwirth gave to them. With I CAN'T DO IT ALONE Lemper takes the stage alone and we miss the company, she's good but not that good (how she won the Olivier for Best Actress I don't understand, it should have been Henshall).

Henshall's Roxie is funnier and lighter than Marilu Henner's, but all her numbers are showstoppers. Brilliant with ROXIE (one of the highligths of the evening) and terrific in WE BOTH REACHED FOR THE GUN. Along with the company she gives life to the show. About the company, well its great but the one on Broadway was better.

The male cast is, perhaps, better here, at least it's funnier. With Henry Goodman giving new meaning to the words of Billy Flynn and C. Shirvell having a terrific time as Mary Sunshine.

Even with all its lesser faults, this is a great show and the choreography is terrific. A great night out

Book by Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse    Music by John Kander     Lyrics by Fred Ebb

Choreographed by Ann Reinking    Directed by Walter Bobbie

Rated by Jorge: +++++