Queenstown puts the old razzle dazzle into new show

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Just like a famous number in the musical, Showbiz Queenstown gave its audience “the old razzle dazzle” in its version of Chicago.
“So splendiferous” was last night’s opening, it’s arguably the best production the amateur theatre company has put on in years.

The highly-anticipated show was always going to be good, but polished performances, incredible choreography and superb sound made Chicago great. 

Under the masterful watch of director Bryan Aitken, the fictional story of murderers Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart was brought to life on the impressive new Queenstown Memorial Centre stage. 

Aitken’s meticulousness for character development showed in all the main leads and the entire company. 

Scene transitions flowed naturally and aside from the odd questionable Chicago accent, acting was again of a great quality for local amateurs. 

But what made the show sing was the outstanding choreography, led by Anna Stuart.

Dancing routines were flawless – and combined with excellent vocals and music from the ever-superb band, led by musical director Emma Wilson, the audience was wowed.

Costume design and lighting brought the simple, effective set to life, balancing the dark jail cell scenes with the glitzy Vaudeville numbers. 

Standout performances of course go to main leads Nicole McLean (Velma) and Fiona Stephenson (Roxie).They delivered powerful vocals and demanding dance routines faultlessly. 

Showbiz newcomer Robert Wells (Billy Flynn) expertly conveyed his comical, manipulative lawyer character.  Rachel Gerard was a brilliant Mama Morton with powerful vocals and solid acting. 

A surprise cameo from professional actor K.R. Chuen (Mary Sunshine) brought the house down in one of the final scenes. 

The Memorial Centre showed off its new capabilities with graphics and lighting displays.
One minor but significant complaint is the vision of some of the audience was obstructed by ceiling lights above the floor seating area. We couldn’t see the heads of actors standing in the centre spotlight on the upper stage level.
Overall, Chicago delivered. Congratulations, Showbiz, on an outstanding musical. And if you don’t have a ticket already – get one.