“A Chorus Line” by Spotlight Theatre Company
Centred on seventeen Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line, the musical is set on the bare stage of a Broadway theatre during an audition for a musical. A Chorus Line provides a glimpse into the personalities of the performers and the choreographer as they describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers.
The show opens in the middle of an audition for an upcoming Broadway production. The director Zach (Liam Hall) and his assistant choreographer Larry put the dancers through their paces.
Every dancer is desperate for work. After the next round of cuts, 17 dancers remain. Zach tells them he is looking for a strong dancing chorus of four boys and four girls. He wants to learn more about them, and asks the dancers to introduce themselves. With reluctance, the dancers reveal their pasts.
This whole cast are a great team who work so well together. No surprise because I know what brilliant ensemble actors these lot are.. The show is secondarily about dance and who better to choreograph this show than Jessica Royce. Several dance styles covered but, for me, the tap section was superb. I know that some of the actors profess not to be the best dancers, but for all their protestations this didn't show, Classy and tight.
The cast are like a who's who of local theatre performers and having met and spoke to many of the cast, I have an idea of their strengths and the hard work that they all put into a show such as this. A cast of 33 filled the Playhouse stage and to mention them all by name would fill the next two paragraphs, so I won't, but you need to know that 110% was given by every single actor on stage.
I will however single out just a few.....
Ellie Monterosso, as Diana, got the goosebumps going in her perfect version of "What I Did For Love" as well as "Nothing"
Matty Collins played Paul San Marco, emotionally relives his childhood and high school experience, his early career in a drag act, coming to terms with his manhood and his homosexuality, and his parents' ultimate reaction to finding out about his lifestyle. Paul breaks down and is comforted by Zach. I can't remember seeing Matty play a role like this before, which shows a more mature side of his acting abilities.
In the weekend start of Pride, stories and characters like this are so important to remind us how far the gay community, and even more so, the straight community has come.
Maya Thompson's streetwise character Sheila,added more class with her "At The Ballet" sequence.
Patrick McChrystal raises a knowing smile with his character,Mark's revelations of his first experiences with pictures of the female anatomy and his first wet dream,
Charleigh Hurst gave us an interesting insight in how to get on in auditions with Valerie's silicone valley experiences in "Dance Ten, Looks Three"
Ella Greenwood plays Cassie who has previous experience of Zach, who does everything to deter Cassie from trying out for a part in the chorus as this is taking a step backwards from the featured role he had given her previously. Then he turns back the years to question her on why she left him years before. An emotional scene with both Ella and Liam.
Ella also gives a showcase of a performance in her featured dance segment in "The Music And The Mirror"
Liam, as Zach shows a softer more vulnerable side as he opens his heart just a little. His harder, business like exterior melts a bit in this scene as well as he did with Paul.
Just a few of my favourite highlights, of which there are so many in this musical
There are some wonderful musical pieces that will be well known to most people. “I Can Do that”, “Nothing”, the big glitzy number to close “One” and of course “What I Did For Love”. Behind the almost continuous score is MD Mitch Gamble and the 11 piece orchestra which complemented the vocals without once drowning them.
I can see this show providing the already multi award winning Director, Amanda Hall with another NODA next year.
This musical will make you smile, it'll also make you think with some of the stories that are related. But you will enjoy the sheer class and quality of this musical incite into casting.
“A Chorus Line” is only on until Saturday 8 July 2017 at the Nottingham Playhouse so you only have “One” more chance to get tickets. Don't miss out!