Review: A Chorus Line, Curve Leicester

Adam Cooper and Carly Mercedes Dyer continue a brilliant year for both of them in this vibrant production of A Chorus Line at Curve Leicester

“Maddening poise, effortless whirl”

There’s something almost wilfully perverse about the Curve mounting A Chorus Line as their festive production. For though it may possess one of the all-time great jazz-hands classics in ‘One’, aka the one song most people will know from it, the show is far from the stereotypical luvvie-fest that the too-prevalent preconceptions about musical theatre insist it must be.

For James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante’s book used real-life testimonies to break down the painful realities of the auditioning process and gives us all the blood, sweat and tears of what it takes to make it. And at this final audition for the chorus of a new Broadway show, 17 hopefuls have been shortlisted for 8 places and they have to lay their souls bare if they’ve any chance of sealing the deal.

Nikolai Foster’s production pays tribute to the hard work and determination at the heart of the show by introducing an element of live video which brings us up close and personal to the characters as they get up close and personal with us. Much of what they say still rings true, especially in terms of inspiration and ambition, hopes and frustrations, only occasionally showing its age in terms of where the conversation now lies in today’s climate.

And Grace Smart’s design under Howard Hudson’s lighting proves the perfect staging for some almost trompe-l’œil effects as the lines and energy of Ellen Kane’s choreography seem to go on forever in the mirrors. Adam Cooper and Carly Mercedes Dyer both impress as central couple Zach and Cassie but it is other stories that grab the attention – Emily Barnett-Salter’s near-desperate Sheila, Ainsley Hall Ricketts’ haunted Paul. A singular sensation indeed.

Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes (without interval)
Photos: Marc Brenner
A Chorus Line is booking at Curve Leicester until 31st December

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