The Student
“A Vibrant Performance”: Chicago review

The Edinburgh University Footlights, one of the biggest student-run musical theatre companies in Edinburgh, presents the musical Chicago to audiences this week. As many will know, Chicago is a satirical, dynamic and entertaining musical, inspired by real-life happenings in the city of Chicago in the nineteen-twenties. Already running for decades on Broadway and in the West-End, the Edinburgh University Footlights cast has taken great responsibility to meet the high expectations demanded by this famous musical, and present a vibrant performance.

The impressive elements in this production include the live music, stage set-up and lighting, which the audience starts to enjoy from the moment of entering the theatre. With the help of the orchestra and theatre crew, the audience is transported to nineteen-twenties Chicago, where jazz, glamour, and fame is juxtaposed with corruption and misery.

The cast members deserve a special mention. They amuse viewers many times throughout the play, and garner excited applause from their vocal and dance performances. The entire cast, especially the leading actors, are consistently professional and entertaining.

Moreover, the uniqueness of the play lies in the fact that it provokes ambivalent feelings. On the one hand, the audience is exposed to the darkest side of human nature, intensely revealing itself in Chicago, a city full of corruption, crime, murder, and hatred. Life is presented as a show in which honesty and loyalty do not exist. On the other hand, the plot also reflects the characters’ dedication to the American dream of wealth and fame, which brings a touch of glamour, energy and sometimes comedy to the vibrant performances. This ambivalence turns the musical into satire, which is very entertaining.

The live music, great cast performances, stage set-up and ironic yet amusing plot, make this two-and-a-half-hour performance fly by.

Chicago runs at the Pleasance Theatre between 4-8 February 2020.

Featured image credit: Andrew Perry