WITH the news that Kelty Musical will be presenting the Fife Premiere of Chicago at the Carnegie Hall, in May next year, we were delighted to see that Kander and Ebb’s famous musical was part of the summer season at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, so headed for the highlands for an evening of raucous Razzle Dazzle, writes Times theatre critic Kerry Black!

In our current celebrity obsessed age, the theme of two Jazz Age murderesses trying to claw themselves up the career ladder of crime in twenties Chicago, is as relevant as ever.

With two incredible leading ladies, Lucie-Mae Sumner as the dumb, ditzy blonde Roxie Hart and Niamh Bracken as the vixenish Velma, heading a strong supporting cast of cell block floozies, this is a powerful parable on the morals of good versus evil.

While Irene Myrtle – Forrester, as jailer Mama Morton, swings between leather clad benevolence and buxom corruption, Billy Flynn (Carl Patrick), the lawyer who could literally save their necks appears as a sort of lecherous Atticus Finch, all olde world smarm and charm - as long as the price is right. Inevitably they are all puppets dancing in a fishnet fiasco to avoid the noose while spinning their tales to the highest bidders!

With the usual strong Pitlochry ensemble playing everything from jail bait to hustling reporters, it was great to see Dunfermline's own Helen Logan, still giving it her all in her basque and stockings! Alan Mirren played Amos, Roxie’s jilted husband with the pathos befitting a true Mr Cellophane, while Graham MacKay-Bruce slithered across the stage as the seedy Fred Casely!

With a fabulously dark set composed of swirling jail bars and a moving staircase with a live band dead in the centre of the action, stomping out the music, the whole production team must be very proud of this bumping, grinding show.

Most of the characters had one basic outfit which they then then overlaid with a swirl of skirts, sequins and sass, with most memorably, Billy Flynn’s sweeping pimp type coats and Mary Sunshine’s (Alex Scott Fairley) saccharine two piece and string vest combo which surely proved that Mrs Doubtfire is alive in the Scottish Highlands!

Chicago is on at Pitlochry Festival Theatre until Saturday 20th October and is well worth a Highland expedition. Contact the theatre for exact dates and times of performances and All That Jazz!