Life Lessons from Chicago

By Harriet Wilson
Friday 06 July 2018

I recently attended Chicago in London's Phoenix Theatre and I walked away thinking that Chicago might have some things to teach us...

Chicago Review

It's all … show-business
Give them an act with lots of flash in it, and the reaction will be passionate. Perhaps this is the one piece of Billy Flynn advice we actually should be listening to (… within reason). Feeling nervous? Razzle dazzle them. Appear way more confident than you really are, and you'll be fine. If all else fails, just don an emergency bowler hat (don't try to pretend that you haven't been carrying one of those around) and go into your dance.

Try not to murder that guy who walked out on you, or chewed loudly
No not chewed. Popped.
In these difficult moments, it's very useful to be able to keep your anger in check. Ask yourself: is murder really the answer? Really? If it is in fact you who is trying to walk out, or popping gum, be sure that there's not a gun within reach. Be wary if you think that there may be arsenic in your drink. Don't run into any knives (and if you do, learn from your mistake and avoid doing it another nine times).

There's a little bit of good in everyone
Even if it is a really, really little bit … It's in there somewhere!

We may sometimes be our own best friends … but we still can't do it alone
Are these contradictory statements? Maybe. Still, maybe they're both a little bit true. Some of life is a solo act but, as I think Velma Kelly proves quite memorably in her “act of desperation”, sometimes life is a double-act, and trying to do a double-act by yourself is probably not going to go particularly smoothly.

When you're good to Mama, Mama's good to you
I just feel like she'd want you to know that.

You can like the life you're living, you can live the life you like …
Isn't it fun, nowadays? Go – do what you want to do, and enjoy it. With the razzle. And all the dazzle. Maybe try to avoid straying into Roxie Hart territory in your quest to get to where you want to be, though; you don't actually have to start “with a bang!”.

He had it coming

Okay, I know how that might sound but … he really did.

If you're going to see a West End musical, Chicago will not disappoint
I was amazed by Chicago when I went to see it recently. Not only does the show offer these impeccable life lessons to its enraptured audience; it is also probably the sharpest and most stylish show that I have seen in or out of London. Not a hair is out of place in this production, from big numbers like Razzle Dazzle, to every click of a finger (and, I can't help but suspect, every blink of an eye). The orchestra is sensational. The choreography is incredible. This show just kills it.


Chicago is playing at the Phoenix Theatre through 5 January 2019. Book your tickets here.


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Harriet Wilson

Please note: Opinions expressed on the blog are those of the relevant contributors, not of London Theatre Direct Ltd, its owners or staff. London Theatre Direct Ltd is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by contributors.

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