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Thursday, 10 February, 2000

The show, conceived by Richard Maltby Jr, Ann Reinking and Chet Walker, is able to ride on the back of the popularity of "Chicago", which is such a success that people are now interested in Bob Fosse. People who liked Chicago will no doubt go and see this show!

The show is called a musical, but actually there is no story at all. We do not learn anything about the man. "Fosse" is a celebration of choreographer/director Bob Fosse and this show gives us a diverse compilation. There are dance routines from "THE BIG DEAL" (1986), "SWEET CHARITY" (1966), "KISS ME KATE" (Film 1953), "THE PAJAMA GAME" (1954), "CABARET" (Film 1972), "CHICAGO" (1975), "ALL THAT JAZZ" (film 1979), and many more.

Bob Fosse's choreography is recreated by Chet Walker and Ann Reinking, and directed by Richard Maltby and Ann Reinking. There can be no doubt that in their day Fosse's dance routines would have been ground breaking, they were a big change from what Broadway was accustomed too. The old Broadway romantic happy sugary dance routine was replaced by a cooler, hard and sexier style that is still as evocative today as it was then. Dancers dressed in black with bowler hats, white gloves and clicking fingers are now a Fosse trademark.

The company, led by the impressive Nicola Hughes, is a talented group of young people who are sharp, diverse, and energetic. Nicola Hughes is fast becoming a big star on the West End stage. Her recent roles include 'Acid Queen' in Tommy, 'Lola' in "Damn Yankees", and most recently ' Velma Kelly' in Chicago. She has again produced a notable performance in this show, but credit should also be given to the whole company who are outstanding.

Reviews from the popular press…. NICOLAS DE JONGH of THE EVENING STANDARD says, "This latest anthology-musical looks a triumph of enticing style over small substance." And goes on to say, "The dancers lack the elastic grace of their Broadway counterparts." CHARLES SPENCER of THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Hats off to pure razzmatazz." And goes on to say "Only the clinically depressed could fail to experience a thrill of pleasure." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE of THE TIMES says, "Thanks to Nicola Hughes, Neil Johnson and a splendidly versatile company, the dance here is always arresting, often brilliant." JOHN PETER of the  SUNDAY TIMES says, "Sensual, stylish, spectacular: Bob Fosse would be proud of the musical that bears his name."

This show provides a rich mix of dance routines, which confirms the talent of Bob Fosse. His dance style is popular at the moment and carries a broad appeal for both young and old. I found the show very entertaining, but with no story and little singing, two hours and 20 minutes was too long for me.

(Darren Dalglish)

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