THEATRE SPOTLIGHT: A CHORUS LINE AT CURVE, LEICESTER
The Curve is back in true tradition this festive season, celebrating the razzle and dazzle with a revival of legendary Broadway musical, A Chorus Line.
Disclosure: Be-lavie received a press invite to experience ‘A Chorus Line’ with no obligation to write this article. All opinions and views are my own and along with non-production photography remain a copyright of be-lavie.
A Made at Curve production and directed by the talented Nikolai Foster, this revival marks the hard work and dedication of performers is timely, where the pandemic saw many artists looking for alternative work whilst stages remained closed and inaccessible. The show must go on now and this show shines a light to those affected by highs and lows of the performing arts industry from the perspective of performers.
A Chorus Line: A Reworked Modern Revival
The opening scene transports the audience to a dark Broadway stage in New York City, in the year 1975, when a stage full of dancers with their backs to the audience dance and facing mirrors, are put through their paces. The shows director, Zach (Adam Cooper, Evita, Denmark, Carousel, Savoy Theatre and UK tour, plus many co-directing accolades) puts the dancers through an unstoppable routine and alas they turn and dance towards the audience. It’s thrilling, uplifting, and exhilarating as the audience catches the first glimpse of the dancers performing to ‘Hope I get it’
After the first stage of selection, 17 dancers remain and are put through the ultimate test of strength and character, in the final, most demanding and gruelling audition to make the final eight who will go on to star in the show. There are tears, there are smiles and there are dance moves! It’s feel good, it’s escapism but it’s also reality.
A chorus line is the ultimate in glitz and glamour but in the story of the hard work and determination faced by the dancers. Back in it’s stage production it was a tad of a sensation, selling 6,137 performances after debuting on Broadway in 1975.
Unknown to the 17 dancers auditioning, getting through to the second stage, leads to not just throwing out show-stopping rehearsal routines, but the director, Zach has an unexpected twist in the mix. Each one of them must share their stories, open up about their lives and what bought them into theatre.
A True Representation of A Chorus Line Life
The stories that follow make the shows deeper context something the audience can relate to and resonate with. The struggles and battles these individuals have faced in their lives up to the point of this audition, pose an emotional and heightened performance that allows the audience to connect with the characters backstories. The spotlight is shone on each of them to reveal what it really means to follow your dreams and ambitions for a life on the stage.
Ellen Kane has worked wonders on the original choreography by A Chorus Line’s creator and director, Michael Bennett and colleague, Avian who have reworked it for a modern, updated look. The result is punchy steps, lead by jumps, fast movement across the stage, a more contemporary dance style powering across the stage effortlessly. Creator, Michael Bennett used real-life testimonials from late-night sessions with chorus dancers to amplify and celebrate the loves of theatres unsung heroes.
But it’s also a musical about ordinary people and their hopes and dreams. Famously Bennett and the book writers James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante took the stories of the real dancers who workshopped the show and turned them into a narrative; Marvin Hamlisch provided the music and Edward Kleban the lyrics.
Highlight performances come from Cassie (Carly Mercedes Dyer, credits include, Chicago, Cambridge Theatre, Matilda at RSC), who is Zach’s ex-lover and wants to audition for a part in the chorus line after an attempt to make it in Hollywood. A wonderful song and dance routine follows, aptly entitled ‘music and the mirror’.
Paul San Marco (Ainsley Hall Rickets, credits include music videos such as Fleur East, Janet Jackson, MTV awards, Dua Lipa & Calvin Harris) delivers a highly emotional performance opening up about his sexuality and acceptance amongst his early years.
The band throughout the show are incredible in timely delivery of the outstanding score, with two that stick in the mind, ‘What I did for Love’, and the finale ‘One’.
A Chorus Line is a Great Addition to Curve’s Long-Standing Festive Line-Up of Shows
It has to be said, the musicals unusual ideas are a great pay off for individuality and set it apart from other performances. One such example is Zach’s assistant, Larry (Taylor Walker, credits include, Jericho, ITV, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, Warner Bros) films the characters and the up close and personal raw footage is displayed on a screen behind the stage for the audience. The close-ups provide another dimension in connecting to the characters on a more personal level.
By the end of the evening, when the final selected cast members dance the glitz and glamour of the show on Broadway, dressed in gold and sparkles, there is only one way to celebrate – prepare to get on your feet and celebrate the musical!
A Chorus Line is about real people, having experienced real struggles and battles. A story told on the stage about those who entertain on the stage with high-powered stories, from revelation, confession, and redemption at the crux of the performance, it’s funny, heart breaking and honest.
A Chorus Line Showing from 7 December December-31 December 2021
Running time is 1 hour 50 minutes with no interval.
- Address: The Curve. Alexandra House, 60 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1SB.
- Box Office: 0116 242 3595
- Box Office Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: Curve Theatre.
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