REVIEW: All that jazz in Chicago at the Bristol Hippodrome

PUBLISHED: 10:59 05 July 2016 | UPDATED: 16:29 05 July 2016



catherine ashmore

Murder, adultery, jazz and liquor – it could only be the musical Chicago, which proved to be a brilliant evening of entertainment at the Bristol Hippodrome last night (Monday).

Jazz music – of course – takes centre stage in the life of murderer Roxy Hart, who dreams of being a Vaudeville star. But after killing her lover, she is thrown into jail alongside performer Velma Kelly.

And just as jazz is at the very heart of Hart and Kelly’s lives, it is put front and centre of the Hippodrome stage. The band was ever-present during the show, letting you enjoy the instruments in their full glory and become fully immersed in the swinging 1920s.

The trouble with performing a show which is so well-known, both on stage and on screen, is trying to make it fresh. Thankfully the performers brought new sides to well-known characters.

As a dedicated fan of the film Chicago (I saw it twice when it was released in the cinema, and countless times on DVD) I was well-acquainted with the songs and the characters.

That was why it was such a delight that Roxy Hart (played by Hayley Tamaddon) was portrayed in a unique and often-hilarious way. For those used to the Renee Zellweger’s naïve and sometimes-simpering Roxy, this kooky and self-aware version was a delight. Tamaddon brought comic faces and mannerisms to the character, along with her effortless voice.

John Partridge (who you may recognise from Eastenders), does not get a chance to show off his full vocal range with the Billy Flynn songs. But he hits one note which goes on, and on, and on, and ensured the first words on everyone’s lips at the interval was ‘I can’t believe how long he held that note for’.

Sam Bailey, an X Factor winner in 2013, seemed a little self-conscious as stage as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton, but her faultless singing was anything but. I got goosebumps at the end of one of her songs, and she was also wonderful while singing Class along with Sophie Carmen-Jones (Velma Kelly).

If you pop along to the Hippodrome this week, you’ll be sure to enjoy an entertaining night with great singing and wonderful dance moves.

For more information on Chicago, visit

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Weston Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Weston Mercury