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BWW Reviews: CHICAGO Plays Tonight at McGill

When a murderess is the most popular star in show business it is then that the justice system becomes little more than a circus, a venue for some "Razzle Dazzle" entertainment.

Chicago is a prohibition-era, vaudevillian musical centering on the merry murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart as they lie and dance their way to an innocent trial verdict. The show recounts the events of early 1920s Chicago when the press became obsessed with homicidal females who were launched to fame as being celebrity criminals.

McGill's Arts Undergraduate Theatre Society (AUTS) opens the sinful (and a little sexy) Kander and Ebb musical Chicago tonight. The 1997 Broadway smash hit went on to win six Tony awards when it first opened and currently holds the trophy for being the longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

AUTS excellently captures the lively era of the 1920s as the world was being introduced to jazz and an exciting buzz was settling over all. Natalie Aspinall and Vanessa Drunsnitzer lead the cast as Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, keeping the energy high and the tension ongoing as they attempt to step over each other on their way to top.

The rest of the tough-as-nails jailbirds that occupy the penitentiary are an ensemble of ladies that make numbers such as "Cell Block Tango" and "We Both Reached for the Gun" a treat to watch.

Kenny Wong, who portrayed the sleazy and charismatic lawyer Billy Flynn, excellently brought the mix of captivating charm and threatening shark that his character requires. His vocals rang true in the entertaining "All I Care About is Love".

"Class" was also a standout number, performed by Aspinall and Nour Malek who fabulously portrayed the tough and intense Matron Momma Morton. The two ladies' vocals, which were equally as strong, blended together in a sultry jazz harmony as they lament (from the jail cell) about how the traditional manners of society have been lost.

The set is a simple, yet effective, table with a bar that quickly turns around to become a judge's bench and court room. The other half of the stage is dominated by the orchestra who executed the music to perfection and were highly entertaining to watch on their own.

The cast's microphones posed a bit of a problem, cutting in and out and at times making it difficult to hear the actors properly, which is a shame because every line of this musical is a delight.

Student tickets are $15 while regular priced tickets are $20. AUTS will be presenting Chicago on January 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and 31. The box office will open at 6:30 PM, doors open at 7 PM and the show will begin promptly at 7:30 PM on each night. For more information click here.

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From This Author - Meghan Pearson

Meghan Pearson recently completed her undergraduate degree in Journalism at Concordia University in Montreal. She has been reviewing theatre for over a decade, and has (read more...)