Thu, 11 Jul 2019
Community of Hungerford Theatre Company, Youth Theatre: Chicago High School Edition
at Herongate Club, Hungerford
on Saturday, June 29
REVIEW BY ROBIN STRAPP
AS part of the annual Hungerford Summer Festival, the Community of Hungerford Theatre Company’s Youth Theatre production of Chicago High School Edition by Kander and Ebb was a challenging musical for this 13-strong young company, but they certainly Razzle Dazzle-d us.
The story is set in the hedonistic prohibition era of 1920s Chicago, where Roxie Hart is sent to prison after being accused of murdering her lover. Martha Gayer plays this part with gusto and great stage presence and she sings powerfully.There she meets the nightclub artist Velma Kelly (Eleanor White), a true femme fatale, who brings an unexpected maturity for someone so young to the part, with a voice to match, especially in the opening number All That Jazz.
Both characters have an intense rivalry as they try to win the attention of top-notch lawyer Billy Flynn (Josh Wright) to represent them in court. His All I Care About is Love was touching. Maddison Pettifer is the prison’s matron, always looking out for her murderous girls as long as they are prepared to pay the price with reciprocity with her song When You’re Good To Mamma. Cell Block Tango brings the large ensemble together as the murderesses explain how they are ‘not guilty’. Rosie Gregory gave a splendid performance, full of confidence as the announcer, with a sound American accent.As Roxie’s husband Amos, who nobody notices, Madeleine McMath gave a heart-rending rendition of Mr Cellophane.
The showstopping spectacular number was Razzle Dazzle with special effects and sparkling costumes.
This was an ambitious production, with slick choreography by Hoffi Robinson and Roushka Westall and on such a brutally hot evening under all the lights the cast performed as true professionals, despite the heat. There was much to enjoy in this lively performance and director Hoffi Robinson and all the company should be very proud of their achievement – as was acknowledged by the enthusiastic applause from the audience.
Many congratulations to all.