Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A very naughty CHICAGO reaches for the gun in Caracas

Latin America | Theater
A very naughty CHICAGO reaches for the gun in Caracas
By Jack Trenton

The Venezuelan production of Chicago, the musical, a daring and original approach to Fosse’s classic by actor-director Luis Fernandez, is as naughty and politically incorrect as it gets, bringing this musical icon to a new, and very “Latin”, life.
A solid, and gorgeous, cast led by a Marilyn-like Velma (Nathalia Martinez), a saucy Roxie (Judy Buendía) and a hunky Billy (Fernandez), seduces audiences that respond in standing ovations at the Rios Reyna Hall of the Teresa Carreno Theater in Caracas.
A city plagued by gun violence seems the perfect setting for this play about criminals turned celebrities by a corrupted society obsessed with blood, sex and violence. Pages torn off the gritty reality of this South American city, would seem.
An impressive set turns to reveal one of the orchestras of the famous Venezuelan “System” composed by 25 exciting young musicians that make Broadway’s band seem old and boring.
The very naughty Venezuelan Razzle-Dazzle led by actor-director Luis Fernandez as Billy Flynn

The play is fast and furious, like the country itself, and never stops to take a breath. It can be overwhelming to some viewers used to the pace of traditional musicals, but not to the Venezuelan crowd, trained by oversexed shows and frantic political drama on a daily basis.
It could be better technically speaking, but for us, used to be bored to death by technically superb productions with no life, the chaos, naked ladies and naughty one-liners of this production, turn the Venezuelan Chicago into a breath of life very much appreciated.
A fabulous, clever and witty discovery in the midst of a nation bounded to keep calling the attention of the planet, for good or bad. A country that resembles Roxie Hart more than it probably would like to.