(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 12/5.)
Murder gets the razzle-dazzle treatment in Paul Kerryson's galvanising revival of Kander and Ebb's sardonic musical. We're in 1920s Chicago, a place where fame and celebrity are valued over truth and justice, and murder has become just another form of light entertainment. Here the windy city appears as you imagine hell itself might look – a cross between the neon gaudiness of Piccadilly Circus and a purple-hazed prison.
Bob Fosse's original choreography was undoubtedly revolutionary in its time, and proved a hit in the long-running London revival, which closed in 2012 after a 15-year run. But Kerryson and choreographer Drew McOnie give the show a much-needed makeover, retaining the its sparseness and fluidity, but placing more emphasis on the contrast between appearance and reality, the illusions of theatre itself and the vaudevillian circus of justice.