Chicago, the Musical opens in Brisbane

If you’re after a night of razzle dazzle and all that jazz, then a night at QPAC seeing Chicago the musical is just what the doctor ordered!

The Queensland Travel Guide acknowledges the Jagera people and the Turrbal people, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which QPAC is situated. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continued spiritual and cultural connections to Country. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

Opening last week in the Lyric Theatre, Chicago the Musical is back in Brisbane, with a more stripped back version of the popular Broadway show, but nevertheless with all the same iconic show tunes and dancing.

We were paying customers at Chicago, so you can rest assured that our review is 100% unbiased.

This post may contain compensated links.  Please refer to our disclaimer here for more information.

The Show

For those not familiar with the storyline, the show is set in Chicago in the 1920s and begins with nightclub performer Roxie Hart shooting her lover, Fred.  

Her devoted husband Amos initially attempts to take the fall for her, believing she shot a burglar.  But then the truth comes out and Roxie is sent to the local women’s jail which is run by crooked Matron Mama.

While in jail, Roxie meets other women guilty of similar crimes, which are all explained during the iconic number “Cell Block Tango”.  This is also where Roxie meets the famous actress Velma Kelly, who quickly becomes her rival.

I won’t give much more of the storyline away, but I will say it includes some incredibly tight choreography (thanks to Bob Fosse) supported by a score full of toe-tapping tunes.  

The music is presented by a fabulous live band, which, unlike most musicals, sits centre stage for the entire performance.

This leads me to say that, like the previous 2019/2020 production of Chicago, there are no sets for the latest version of Chicago.  In fact, there are barely any props or costume changes, nor are there any special lighting effects.  And the cast sits on stage, even when not performing.

Having seen Chicago the musical a few times before, this is somewhat disappointing, but the striped back production still works.  And it is nice to see the live band take a prominent position, as they’re often not seen at all.

The Cast

The cast of Chicago features some musical royalty, with Anthony Warlow performing fantastically as Roxie’s lawyer, Billy Flynn.  Warlow has some fabulous scenes on stage, such as his puppeteer like performance with Roxie during “We Both Reached for the Gun”.

Fans of the Aussie drama “Packed to the Rafters” will also recognise Zoë Ventoura (who played Melissa Rafter), who plays the role of Velma Kelly.  Ventoura will have you absolutely mesmerised from the opening number, where she puts in a solid performance of singing and dancing during “All that Jazz”.   

A crowd favourite is Peter Rowsthorn (better known for his role as Brett in “Kath & Kim”), who plays Roxie’s husband.  While a relatively small role, Rowsthorn sure had the audience in the palm of his hand, particularly during his “Mister Cellophane” number.

The lead role of Roxie is played by Lucy Maunder – perhaps a less known name by most. However, regular musicalgoers will no doubt have seen Maunder before, given she has recently appeared in Mary Poppins and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Maunder is brilliant in the lead role of Roxie.

Special mention needs to be made about the final performance between Ventoura and Maunder.  Every single arm, leg, finger and head movement is in complete unison; it’s just fantastic to watch.

Tickets

Chicago is playing at QPAC in Brisbane now until 4 February 2024.  Tickets range in price from $69.90 to $209.90.

Discounted are provided for full time students, pension and senior card holders and groups of 8+.

We had seats on balcony 1 in row B, which were $99.90 each, and could see fabulously – I recommend this location for good value tickets.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Accessible performances

An audio described performance is on Saturday, 3 February 2024, at 2 pm.  This performance has trained Audio Describers who provide a commentary with concise descriptions of actions, expressions and gestures for patrons who are blind or have low vision.

For the hearing impaired, an Auslan interpreted performance is on Tuesday, 30 January 2024, at 7 pm.

To book tickets for either of these performances, contact QPAC Group Sales (07) 3840 7466 (Monday to Friday, 9 am-5 pm) or groups@qpac.com.au.

There are also wheelchair accessible seating areas.  To book tickets for these areas, it is best to call 136 246 to discuss the best seating options. 

Parking

Parking is easy at QPAC thanks to the Performing Arts Car Park (P1), accessible via Stanley Place.  Parking spaces however can be limited, so often pre paid parking is your best option.  

Keep in mind though, that pre paid parking is $23.65, while the standard rate is only $17.60 

There are also other car parks within the Performing Arts area in (P2) and (P3).

Other parking just a short walk from QPAC is available at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and South Bank Parklands.

Public Transport

If taking public transport to the show:

  • The nearest train station is South Brisbane Station, directly across the road from QPAC on Grey Street.
  • The nearest bus station is along Melbourne Street, just at the corner of Grey Street.
  • The nearest CityCat (ferry) is the South Bank stop – just a short walk along the river.

Pre Show Meal or Drink

The surrounding areas of South Bank, Stanley Street, Fish Lane and beyond offer fantastic dining options.  However, QPAC also has several venues to enjoy a meal or drink before or after Chicago.

Bistro

Bistro is a casual venue in an open air courtyard serving various Asian inspired meals.  It’s the perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat before the show.

Lyrebird

The Lyrebird offers a fine dining experience serving Italian cuisine.  Also, before some matinee performances, Lyrebird offers a high tea for $25 or $30 per person, including a glass of bubbles.

Theatre Bars

Outside the theatre, you’ll find bars serving various drinks and snacks.  You can also pre order online cheese or antipasto plates to enjoy before or during interval.

The Lyric Theatre bars open 90 minutes before the commencement of Chicago.

Enjoy Chicago

Hopefully, you found this review on Chicago the Musical helpful.

Why not check out some of our other reviews of things to do around Brisbane, such as the Pink Flamingo, Cloudland Big Band Cabaret or Soak Bathhouse.

If you’re planning a trip to Brisbane, I highly recommend you check out our full guide to Brisbane, which provides links to everything you need to know to plan your trip.

I’d also recommend you join our free Queensland Travel Guide Facebook community, where you can ask all your questions and find even more great trip suggestions.

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