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Posted by : Timothy Ramsden on Dec 04, 2003 - 03:54 PM Archive

by Michael Bennett James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante, Music by Marvin Hamlisch, Lyrics by Edward Kleban

Crucible Theatre To 24 January 2004
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Mat 10, 17,20,27December, 3,7,10,14,17,20,23 January 2004 2.30pm
Audio-described 8 January (+touch Tour 6pm)
Talkback 11 December
BSL Signed 11 December
Subtitled 10 January 2.30pm
Runs 2hr 45 min One interval

TICKETS 0114 249 6000
Review: Timothy Ramsden 1 December

Suffering artistic humanity creates a fine feelgood show.
A Chorus Line you'd think, is just the musical not to put on a thrust stage lines work best behind proscenium arches. Nikolai Foster's production resolves the contradiction, breaking the impersonal file into rehearsal-room groups, and bringing the authoritative director down from his miked-up place in the auditorium to stand among the hopefuls auditioning for the chorus in the latest big-time show.

Based on aspirant hoofers' personal recollections, a lot of the spoken stuff is prosaic though with fascinating moments; for some dance is a compulsion, an expression of existence; for others an escape from the social expectations: don't look right, don't have the right orientation? Join the Chorus.

It could be a serious play, the acting smarter, the focus on individuality rather than individually-named types. But once the band strikes up, the legs strike out, all's fine.

David Sellings' opening solo, I Can Do That comes close to stealing the show, with its leaping athleticism. But much of what follows musically and choreographically is about groups and individuals as members of a band, forever competitive yet supportive when possible - all out for Number One, but knowing what the rest are going through.

The show cheats. The two eliminations occur in reverse manner, tricking the audience second time round, hyping the disappointeds' disappointment. And the big number One comes round twice. First time it's in rehearsal, the chorus still picking up the routine. Foster and his cast catch the moment splendidly, with varying degrees of effort and mistimed detail. When it resurfaces as the finale, the cast's supposedly been whittled from 17 to 8 yet everyone still gets their go.

Even one who's dropped out injured (why are there 17 rather than 16? It's all carefully calculated to suit story not situation). Yet this person dream on - leads the final Chorus, tricked out in the last golden moments with smoke and mirrors from which the men slowly build, followed by the mass women's entry, the company sweeping the stage in linked formation - e pluribus unum - celebrating the human skill and commitment within the apparently effortless machine that fills the stage with splendour.

Judy: Helen Anker
Mark: Jay Beattie
Sheila: Nikki Belsher
Roy: Matthew Croke
Paul: Daniel Crossley
Vicki: Laurie Delaney
Zach: Jason Durr
Maggie: Nina French
Cassie: Josefina Gabrielle
Val: Rebekah Gibbs
Tricia: Caroline Hallam
Lois: Kirsty Harden/Sara Harden
Larry: Edward Hayes-Neary
Richie: Paul Hazel
Bobby: Michael Jibson
Connie: Rhoda Montemayor
Butch: Ashley Orwin
Bebe: Lara Pulver
Mike: David Sellings
Al: Andrew Spillett
Don: Spencer Stafford
Diana: Hayley Tamaddon
Greg: Sebastien Torkia
Tom: Benjamin Turner
Kristine: Rachael Wooding

Director: Nikolia Foster
Designer: Stephen Brimson-Lewis
Lighting: Tim Mitchell
Sound: Nick Greenhill
Musical Director/Orchestrator: David Shrubsole
Choreographer: Karen Bruce
Assistant choreographer: Jane Housley
Assistant director: David Newman
Voice Coach: Neil Swain
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