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Chicago by the Musical Medics: review

Written by Arts, Theatre

I’m not a fan of musicals.

Yes, I learnt all the words to Cats and Joseph at primary school, and I had a bit of a High School Musical phase, but that’s as far as my interest in musicals goes. I only watched Hairspray once, and after hearing all the hype surrounding La La Land I was disappointed when I settled down to watch it and discovered it was a musical.

image: Kelly Zhou

Musical Medics, however, are an exception to that. After being truly dazzled by last year’s production of Legally Blonde, I was incredibly excited when Musical Medics announced the show dates for 2019. And they really didn’t disappoint.I had never seen Chicago before, so I turned up at the Jubilee Theatre in St Nicholas Hospital, Gosforth, with very few preconceptions. From the start, I was, quite frankly, blown away.

The opening number ‘And All That Jazz’ set the tone for the rest of the night. Victoria Smith’s ability to sing in a flawless American accent – while twirling round the stage very energetically – was only echoed by the rest of the cast, who performed not just their scripted lines but also their musical numbers in incredibly accurate Illinois accents. Despite a few technical issues with the microphones, each song saw the audience singing along accompanied by a full orchestra.

I turned up at the Jubilee Theatre in St Nicholas Hospital, Gosforth, with very few preconceptions. From the start, I was, quite frankly, blown away

A personal highlight was the performance of “Cell Block Tango”, which I must admit has been stuck in my head ever since – the performance just oozed sass. The characters were all played incredibly convincingly, with clear characterisation. It was difficult to believe that Chicago wasn’t performed by Musical Theatre students; the approximately two-hour long performance featured an all-singing all-dancing cast comprised primarily of fourth year medical students, as tradition of the society dictates.

The art deco surroundings of the Jubilee Theatre complemented the roaring 1920s tone of the show, which oozed class, elegance and intrigue with its, to quote the musical, very “razzle dazzle”, all-black costume design, complete with tasselled skirts and intricate lace outfits.

The excellent show was for an excellent cause, with profits split between Papyrus, The Brain Tumour Charity and future Musical Medics events.

Last modified: 12th November 2019

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