CHICAGO in London and Ute Lemper as Velma

CHICAGO

CHICAGO

Thought for the day: This is probably a rather unpopular opinion but I really do not like the London Revival Cast Recording of Chicago much at all. For me, there is just something missing. I don’t find it particularly entertaining. I wasn’t overly impressed by the highlights package assembled for the Royal Variety Performance. The accents are iffy at best. It’s not funny. I don’t think the cast gets the style of the humour, even though the singing is good, as is the playing from the orchestra. And as for the two leading ladies… well, I think Ruthie Henshall was pretty much miscast as Roxie and I’m generally not a very big fan of Ute Lemper as Velma either. It probably does not help that Lemper throws a series of unforgettable backstage tantrums in the “Making of” documentary of the production. I found those really annoying. Yes, Ute, the choreography is difficult. The Fosse style is tough and demanding and challenging. But it’s your job. Just do it.

That is all…

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10 Responses to CHICAGO in London and Ute Lemper as Velma

  1. JemiBoe1981 says:

    I just got the London recording with Ute Lemper and Ruthie Henshall and I really prefer it to the movie soundtrack, original Broadway recording and the revival Broadway recording as well. It has a lot more of “oomph”, especially on the female side. Ute and Ruthie are the best Roxie and Velma pairing I have ever heard. Though I like all the ones I have heard, these two just seem the best for their roles. Ute plays Velma not only with nastiness and dry humor but is also very, very sultry and Ruthie as Roxie is overdone, dramatic, and completely amazing, though maybe seems a bit young. I definitely adore Ute more, though I love Ruthie in other roles. Ute was born to play Velma, and she is absolutely perfect. But I like Ruthie, too, and my best pal Angie prefers Ruthie.

  2. Kev says:

    I think both Ruthie and Ute brought strengths to their roles. Ute may have been the more unique and revelatory, but both were incredibly solid.

  3. Kragey says:

    I adore Ute. Ruthie is great, too, and I still think she was the best Fantine ever, but I’ve heard better Roxies.

  4. Louis says:

    Ute and Ruthie are both exceptional performers, but I am especially amazed by Ute’s versatility and the many, many things she can do well. Ruthie is great, though, except Roxie isn’t her best role. I doubt Ute has really found the best role for her, but part of that depends upon whether or not she’ll return to the musical stage. In Chicago, Ute was stronger, because her Velma was simply more intriguing and multi-dimensional than Ruthie’s Roxie.Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:24 pm

  5. Rich says:

    Come off it, Ute’s accent was diabolical, her characterisations pure cartoon and her singing was the worst I’ve heard from her. I’m a big Ute Lemper fan but she should stick to what’s she’s good at (cabaret) and leave musical theatre well alone.

  6. Bye Bye Birdie Fan-89 says:

    Well Ute does have an Oliver for her Velma…

  7. JemiBoe1981 says:

    Rich wrote:
    Ute’s accent was diabolical, her characterisation pure cartoon and her singing was the worst I’ve heard from her.

    Ute can’t really help her accent though, can she? I mean, she’s German (or something European – I just got into her and don’t know much about her yet) and while she tried an American accent (or so it sounds), a heavy accent like hers would be very difficult to cover completely. But I think her singing more than made up for the accent.

    And as much as I love her, Ruthie is pretty animated too, and her take at an American accent wasn’t so hot, either.

  8. Rich says:

    Bye Bye Birdie Fan-89 wrote:
    Well Ute does have an Oliver for her Velma…

    She does indeed have an Olivier, but then, Halle Berry got an Oscar for Monsters Ball so awards don’t mean much.

    JemiBoe1981 wrote:
    Ute can’t really help her accent though, can she? I mean, she’s German (or something European – I just got into her and don’t know much about her yet) and while she tried an American accent (or so it sounds), a heavy accent like hers would be very difficult to cover completely.

    Her accent isn’t too bad when she normally tries to do an American accent (which is pretty much how she sounds when speaking English anyway) but the one she chose for Chicago was awful. Watch the “Making Of…” for the London Chicago production: watch Ann Reinking’s face when she sees Ute rehearsing. It says it all.

  9. Bye Bye Birdie Fan-89 says:

    Ew at all the Ute bashing. Ute is amazing. Goodbye.

  10. David Fick says:

    JemiBoe1981 wrote:
    Ute can’t really help her accent though, can she? I mean, she’s German (or something European – I just got into her and don’t know much about her yet) and while she tried an American accent (or so it sounds), a heavy accent like hers would be very difficult to cover completely.

    Surely an celebrated actress in a top tier production should be able to learn an accent when a role requires one?

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