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Chicago, on stage in May. Photo: SUPPLIED

Bringing ‘Roaring 20s’ to life

Thames Music and Drama are once again taking theatregoers on a journey back in time.
Mamma Mia went to the 70s; Judy White and the Seven Dwarfs went to the 60s; and this year’s show, Chicago, will go even further back – all the way to the Roaring 20s.
In fact it will be exactly 100 years since the real life trials of Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner, whom the characters of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly are based on.
In the 1920s, at the height of prohibition, Chicago seemed to be run by criminals and the press sensationalised the scandals as entertainment.
Maurine Dallas Watkins, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, who covered the trials of Mrs Annan and Miss Gaertner, was so affected by what she witnessed that she penned the satirical play Chicago.
While many may believe that the musical  version, developed by Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb for Broadway in the 70s, is all about booze, broads, and the evils of jazz music, Thames MAD director Asha Peppiatt says her focus will be on how celebrity status and the media play a huge role in public opinion and whether some people literally “get away with murder”.

“We still see this occurring nowadays. Even more so since the advent of social media,” Ms Peppiatt said.
“It’s pretty dispicable and I wanted to use the show as a subtle way to highlight the modern dangers.”
Ms Peppiatt has gathered together a team of creatives to support her vision. Key roles include musical director Edwin Randell, costume designer Natalie Callard, and choreographer Sherrie Roue-Walker, who will collectively add to the spectacle audiences can expect when the production hits the stage in May.
“I am thrilled to have the calibre of talent I have in the creative team. Not forgeting our amazing set construction team, led by Case Kruitof. I can’t wait for everyone to see how it comes together down at the Thames Civic Centre.”