A Chorus Line: a high kicking success


By | Category: Travel rumblings, Travel tips & opinions

It’s been over 30 years since Marvin Hamlisch’s musical about dancers auditioning for an unnamed show burst into life on Broadway, but this classy revival stands the test of time.

The show sees super critical director Zach (a buffed, bearded John Partridge) put the 17 hopefuls through their paces, demanding not only that they nail the routines but also that they share their personal stories – of broken homes, coming out and the power of plastic surgery – as he searches for his chosen chorus line of “four boys, four girls.”

A Chorus Line at the London Palladium. Photo by Manuel Harlan

 

A Chorus Line is an ensemble piece, if ever there was one, documenting the dreams of a group of unknowns. Nonetheless there are some standout performances on the stark, bare Palladium stage: Leigh Zimmerman as sassy, sexy Sheila, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as the determined Diana (whose haunting rendition of What I Did For Love is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine) and Scarlett Strallen’s confessional Cassie – Zach’s former lover who, having flopped in Hollywood, wants to return to the chorus.

Presiding over the whole, agonising audition process (which makes the X Factor battle look like a piece of cake) is Partridge. The former Eastenders man oozes charisma as the dictatorial director, who spends much of the show shouting instructions from the back of the stalls, but also proves impressively nimble in big song and dance numbers such as the famous finale, ONE.

But the real star, is show business itself. The theatre emerges as a chance to escape your tainted past or the tediousness of your small town – even if you are just another face in a chorus line.

A Chorus Line at the London Palladium. Photo by Manuel Harlan

Far from feeling dated, original co-choreographer Bob Avian’s revival is arguably more prevalent than ever. On the surface, A Chorus Line might be a musical about dancers but on a deeper level, it’s also a story that, in these recessionary times, we can all relate too: the struggle not just to realise your professional dreams no matter the heavy personal price, but to find work at all.

All told this Palladium production is a spellbinding success and one of which Hamlisch – who died suddenly last August – would have been proud.

A Chorus Line at the London Palladium. Photo by Manuel Harlan

 

A Chorus Line is at the London Palladium until 18 January 2014. Running time: two hours (no interval).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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