Theatre Review: Chicago – High School Edition

Presented by Pelican Productions
Reviewed 13th August 2021

COVID-19 causing challenges such as a rescheduling of their performance dates, and a last-minute change of venue, have seemingly had no ill-effect on Pelican Productions latest hit show, Chicago. In fact, this production was absolutely worthy of the superior acoustics, sound system, and sound engineering at Thebarton Theatre. The audience were treated to a loud, vibrant, fast-paced performance which completely belied any notions of this being a “Kiddy Show” (it was billed as the ‘High School edition’).

Considered by some to be amateur theatre due to the ages of some cast, this most certainly is not. This is a professional, youth cast, and the amount of talent in this show is mind-blowing. I can’t fault the cast at all. Nothing. They were perfection. The voices were strong, the dancing was tight, and the choreography (by Maddison Lochert) was well considered and unrepetitive.

Alana Lannace’s portrayal of murderess Velma Kelly felt the most solid, but that would imply that others on this stage gave less than solid performances, which isn’t the case. Roxie Hart, as played by Rebecca Simpson, was deeply thought out enough to be entertaining, without being so deep as to spoil the character. With Alex Kudra’s Billy Flynn rounding out the lead cast, their talent and conviction set the standard that their entire supporting cast maintained.

And what a brilliant set! Simple but effective scaffolding that was expertly lit, and easily utilised as everything from a domestic dwelling to a jail. The instantly recognisable Chicago sign has been crafted well and sets the show nicely. Fill this with flash and sexy costuming, and everything about this show looks the part.

Millicent Sarre’s direction is spot on. If you’ve seen Chicago before you know what to expect, and Sarre gave us that in spades, without just re-hashing what those before her have produced. Ben Francis’ band, and his direction of them is tight, loud, and precise.

Get along and see a Pelican Production as soon as you can. Many of the talented actors you’ll see will no doubt go on to have successful professional careers in performance in the near future, so treat yourself to an opportunity to see them now.

Reviewed by Doug Phillips
Twitter: @DouggyOz

Season Ended

Disclaimer: Ben Francis is a Reviewer for Glam Adelaide’s Arts team.

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