Chicago – Leeds Grand

RETURNING to the stage and touring after a few years, the musical Chicago is back with a bang.

The show has some very big stars in this production but it was Hayley Tamaddon (Coronation Street/Emmerdale) that shone brightest of all.

The story revolves around 1920s Chicago and at the Grand Theatre the setting was perfect in a stunning venue.

Hayley plays Roxie Hart, a nightclub singer who is sent to prison for killing her lover. There she meets double murderous Velma Kelly, brilliantly portrayed by Sophie Carmen-Jones, and Matron ‘Mama’ Morton played by Jessie Wallace (Eastenders) who sang with great power.

Mama introduces Roxie to smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn, deliciously played by John Partridge (Eastenders), whose song We Both Reached For The Gun was very well-executed and hugely-entertaining.

I couldn’t get over how much I enjoyed Hayley’s performance – she brought more to the part than I have seen in other productions. She had it all: she could sing, dance and act, but also brought a comical side to Roxie which added to the overall enjoyment.

The whole cast were a credit to the show. Chicago is as much about the dancing as it is the songs, and the dancing was snappy, seductive and not a foot was wrong. I really enjoyed the Cell Block Tango and Hot Honey Rag.

Another couple of standout moments came from Mary Sunshine (AD Richardson) singing A Little Bit Of Good, which was just one of those “wow” moments, and Amos Hart (Neil Ditt) with Mister Cellophane. His character was likeable although I didn’t feel the audience were truly on his side on the sympathy vote.

We also have to mention the band who were amazing, and were present on stage throughout the whole performance. Boy, did they make the most of their moments in the spotlight during the Entr’acte in Act Two and the Finale.

• Until Saturday, November 26, visit or call 0844 8482700 to book tickets.

Laura Harness