A Chorus Line … dance 10, plot 3

When I went: 4 May 2013

Music Owl Hoot rating: 3/5

Location: London Palladium, London

Performers: John Partridge (Zach), Scarlett Strallen (Cassie), Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (Diana), Rebecca Herszenhorn (Val)

Creative team: Michael Bennett and Bob Avian and Baayork Lee (directors / choreographers), James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante (book), Marvin Hamlisch (music), Edward Kleban (lyrics)

Approximate price: £65

Special points: Meta plot, a musical buff’s musical

Best bit: Dance: Ten; Looks: Three

If I could change one thing: More coherent story


The musical:

A Chorus Line is a classic, but it is also very divisive. Some people love it for its ‘meta’ quality – its story focusing around a group of actors auditioning for a new show – and some hate it for its lack of coherent plot and disjointed songs.

Love it or hate it, it has some undeniably strong songs, including At the Ballet, One, What I Did For Love and Dance: Ten; Looks: Three. The dancing is the aspect that many musical theatre buffs go for, and is always fun to watch. However, it doesn’t really matter how well-directed performances of this musical are; some people will just not get it or enjoy it.

This performance:

Unusually for a London musical, there were lots of empty seats and some people left halfway through – probably a symptom of people not ‘getting’ it, as I mentioned above.

I felt sorry about this on behalf of the performers, as they were giving it their all regardless, with plenty of warmth especially in the portrayals of Cassie and Diana by Scarlett Strallen and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt respectively. John Partridge as Zach was merely a voice in the background, but a familiar one to many due to his turns in Eastenders and in the BBC show Over the Rainbow.

I found myself quite drawn in by this performance almost despite myself – I could tell the musical wasn’t as strong overall as ones like Chicago and Phantom but there is just something about it that is quite compelling. Maybe it is the raw quality of the songs and the lyrics, exposing the characters’ dreams for everyone to see, without much retreat into irony or self-deprecation as they only have their talents and their time-limited dancing abilities to rely on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.