A Chorus Line is a musical with music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban and a book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante
The legendary musical, which debuted on Broadway in 1975, has arrived back at the famous West End venue London Palladium since it premiered back in 1976, bringing along with it classic songs such as ‘I Hope I Get It’, ‘What I Did For Love’ and the ever-so-catchy ‘One’. A Chorus Line revolves around a group of Broadway hopefuls auditioning to land a dancing role in an upcoming musical, and they all perform songs about the stories of their lives, and only eight of the numerous auditionees can land themselves the role in the musical.
A Chorus Line begins with a range of dance routines performed by the company, which are excellently choreographed and performed with maximum energy and displaying shades of character to them too, determined to impress intimidating director Zach, portrayed by Eastenders star John Partridge.
Sheila, Diana, Cassie and the company of performers auditioning are very excellently portrayed, as they bring a mix of humour, class and sex appeal to the roles. Zach, however, was very flatly portrayed and very one-dimensional, even when revelations about him are revealed. When Zach is offstage, his tone of voice when speaking to the performers is very perverted and very difficult to take the character seriously.
The first half of A Chorus Line is rather slow at first, as the stories told from the company lack spark at times, which makes it difficult to gain interest, and everything feels repetitive at times, as the first half seemed to only consist of musical numbers, and however sizzling they may be, it felt like the show wasn’t going in any direction. The second half was better, especially when revelations were revealed and possibilities of not becoming a star, and things started becoming unpredictable too. It seems that the setting of making it on Broadway has very limited appeal to audiences. There is certainly no denying that it was very appealing when it premiered, but nowadays, there are some who wouldn’t enjoy the Broadway setting and would be less sympathetic to those who claim their lives depend on being in a Broadway show, especially as there’s a musical number performed by someone who had spent a lot of money on plastic surgery.
Overall, it’s a fitting tribute to the original composer Marvin Hamlisch, who sadly passed away last year. The musical numbers are enjoyable and masterfully performed with sizzling choreography. The use of mirrors right at the back of the stage are very well used and add an extra effect to the songs along with the lighting. There are times when A Chorus Line isn’t heading in any direction and quite hard to follow, but it is very entertaining and well performed by the company, and ‘One’ will certainly stay in your head on the journey home.
Until Dec 21, London Palladium. www.achoruslinelondon.com