“One! (Singular Sensation, Every Little Step He Makes).” Years back, this song stayed in our heads months after watching the musical, A Chorus Line. After watching it again this week, we can confirm it still has the uncanny knack of repeatedly playing in your head.
This isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it’s what musicals are all about. And while A Chorus Line is no high-production Hello, Dolly!, it still manages to pull off unforgettable show-tunes, catchy dance sequences and awe-inspiring costumes like no other – this point reiterated by claiming the spot of Broadway’s sixth longest running show.
Like the original that was conceived, choreographed and directed by legend Michael Bennett, this new version makes full use of a barren stage and a cast of unrecognisable faces. These raw elements, combined with the universal theme of following your dream, whatever it takes, spurred on a mass frenzy in New York and The West End when it debuted in the mid 1970s. And dare we say, 35 years later… it can do it again.
In today’s economic climate, everyone wants a quick, happy fix – the feel-good, I-want-to-get-out-of-my-seat-and-say-yah kind of thing. And to us (along with the rest of the audience that gave a standing ovation after the reprise of “One! Singular Sensation”), A Chorus Line does just that.
It must be said, nonetheless, that some parts of the show feel dated, a bit too close to the original (like the old, patched-up sofa you just can’t get rid of). As much as we love retro clothing, some of the costumes – in particular the director’s skin-tight roll neck and jeans – look a tad too groovy; after all, it’s an entirely new century now. The choreography, as well, feels slightly Flashdance, which again is not necessarily a complaint, but at times feels in need of a revamp. Like Cassie’s solo, while beautifully danced, grates with twanging electric guitar chords and a style of dance perhaps you’d use if smooth jazz were playing.
These are small points in the grand scheme of things. The musical really is good fun, and something everyone of all ages can enjoy. The cast, largely British with impeccable American accents, portray something similar to a X Factor episode, only here you can lend a clapping hand and maybe even your voice to a few of the tunes. Think Glee – but with more pizazz and a lot of heart. One might even say it’s ‘a singular sensation’.
A Chorus Line is showing at The London Palladium, Argyll Street. Bookings are being taken through to January 2014. Evening shows Monday – Saturdays 7.45pm, Matiness shows Wednesday and Saturday at 3pm. Running time 2 hours, no interval. Tickets £19.50 – £65, For groups of 10 people or more Monday – Friday £39.50.