Friday, 8 March 2013

A Chorus Line

A Chorus Line, London Palladium - reviewed on 5th March
A Chorus Line cast in 'One'
Photo: Manuel Harlan
A Chorus Line instantly transports its audience to the tough world of dance auditions. We see a stage crowded with performers facing an enormous mirror upstage and repeating over and over a short routine.

Audition director John Partridge calls out the numbers of his chosen dancers and the rest grab their bags and leave. Much like reality, the unsuccessful ones are not seen again and don’t even take a bow at the end. The selected performers are lined up and instructed to share their life stories. What were their parents like? Why did they decide to become a dancer? The tales we hear are a combination of the amusing, sad and frivolous.

Sheila (Leigh Zimmerman) describes the strained relationship between her parents and how dance was her escapism with the gorgeous song lyrics “everything was beautiful at the ballet”. Paul (Gary Wood) gives a very moving account of discovering his homosexuality. Diana (Victoria Hamilton-Barritt) showcases her superb voice in a song that explores the character's troubles in acting class. Other stories are more puerile and less to my taste, such as having wet dreams, wanting a boob job and being unable to sing in tune.

A Chorus Line stands on the strength of the group as a whole and when they perform together, the effect is stunning. The final song, ‘One’ (pictured), is superb, with the cast sparkling in gold outfits and top hats. I wish there was more of these impressive ensemble numbers.

A Chorus Line has as much relevance today as it did when it was created in 1975. Its great music, talented performers and engaging storyline make for a wonderful evening out at the theatre.

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