by Michael Meigs
An enthusiastic voice behind us as we exited Bass Concert Hall at the University of Texas last night: "That was nothing like the movie!"
Live performance, even in the cavernous space of the Bass, can seize your attention and send your heart racing in ways that no flat screen image ever can. And that's what happens in the 15th (annual?) tour of Chicago, playing in Austin through this coming Sunday.
|(Terra C. MacLeod)|
The story is familiar and, frankly, banal, a combination of 1920's tabloid sensationalism, some 1930's B-movie styling, and a dose of Cinderella (and I don't mean Disney's Cinderella). Roxy murders her lover and when her big dumb good-hearted husband realizes what happened, he recants his own false impression; she gets sent to the state pen in Joliet, where a different hierarchy rules. Tough women sing in cages (Cell Block Tango) and vie with one another for favors from Mama the warden and from Billy Flynn, the lawyer who'll lie, cheat, misrepresent and do just about anything (except, interestingly, overtly request sexual favors) to earn his colossal fee by obtaining a non-guilty verdict. Tabloid notoriety promises to become celebrity that offers prospects of a career in vaudeville.
|(Terra C. MacLeod and cast)|
Click to read more at AustinLiveTheatre.com . . . .