The Time Out verdict on the smash musical showing at DWTC until January 3
It would be no overstatement to say the UAE faces a dearth of musical theatre. But Dubai being Dubai, when the emirate does something – it does it big. And so it was that after weeks of anticipation (and an unprecedentedly huge billboard ad on Sheikh Zayed Road), Chicago – the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, no less – landed for a run of 20 shows over 16 nights at Dubai World Trade Centre.
So, after all that hype and pomp, does it cut the mustard? We’re happy to report a resounding yes. Opening night was a razzling, dazzling, foot-tapping extravaganza of feel good show tunes which had even this musical non-believer largely converted.
Originally penned in 1975 (and brought back to Broadway in 1996, where it still runs today), Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse’s script and show is a classic tale of corruption, lust and greed. Based on a 1926 play of the same name, the plot charts how two women slay their jealous lovers in cold blood, only to slyly manipulate the legal system and media to not only leave the courtoom with ‘not guilty’ verdicts, but as household-name celebrities. Black comedy at its best, what’s amazing is how relevant the tale seems in today’s headline-hungry times, nearly 90 years after the real life events which inspired it.
This production is the real deal. The huge cast of more than 40 actors, dancers and musicians are drawn from the official production’s International Tour Cast, familiar faces who have taken the show round the globe from South America to Europe, and across the states ten times. Anne Horak is faultless as feisty lead Roxie Hart, while Brent Barrett oozed charm and sleaze in equal quantities as celebrity lawyer Billy Flynn, a role notably filled by Richard Gere in the 2002 Hollywood adaptation. Most applause however was drawn by Roz Ryan, familiar from ’80s US sitcom Amen, as Mama Morton, while being pathetic was perfected as art form in Todd Buonopane’s portrayal of wretched husband Amos Hart.
Some griped about the seemingly compact stage area, dwarfed by the huge capacity of Sheikh Rashid Hall. But there are big screens either side of the stage, and the live band’s tight, jaunty score – packed with favourites like ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and ‘All That Jazz’ – should be enough to get your foot tapping even from the back row. This is a rare chance to catch a Broadway standard musical in Dubai – so don’t miss out.
Tickets Dhs245-2,295. Until Friday January 3. Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 457 3212).
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Imad Khalife Jan 07, 2014 12:41 pm
I was pretty disappointed with Chicago. I don't know if they have the same show on Broadway but overall this performance in Dubai was pretty bad. There were just a handful of scenes that really stood out but otherwise from costumes to choreography to set..they could have done sooooo sooooo much better. I sat there watching it and at the same time imagining how bit of changes here and there would have gone a long way.
Totally not worth the 545Dhs ticket i paid. Max I would have paid 245dhs for this.
Yasser Dec 26, 2013 08:07 am
Loved every part of the show... However, they should have had better chairs in the front. I believe for AED 1000+ Diamond category they could afdford to put Sofas specially that it wasnt full. Also, the food options were poor.
We get better chairs and service at Cinemas for paying AED 50 than what we got for paying that much of money....
Overall, amazing show and wqaiting for the next, maybe Bourlesque oe Moulain Rouge type of Musicals.