On January 26 1974 the first taped session of a group of dancers was recorded at the Nickolaus Exercise Centre in New York. It delved into the lives of professional artists, their hopes, dreams and sacrifices and would go on to form the nucleus of one of the longest running shows in Broadway history.
Original Broadway cast member Baayork Lee directs and choreographs this new Australian production of A Chorus Line, a show which at times delivers stunning moments, in others however, there is an obvious lack of technical polish. Vocal and sound/balance issues plague this version and detract from the floorless dancing featured throughout. The show is at its best in ensemble moments specifically I Hope I Get It and the Hello Twelve Hello Thirteen Hello Love montage. Too often however, performers are left vocally vulnerable and exposed to the challenges of the score.
Josh Horner as Zach is a stand out in this cast. His dynamic portrayal of the character has a touch of arrogance and a flare of superiority. While we primarily only hear him asking questions, offstage, from the back of the theatre, when Horner is onstage he commands it. Rohan Browne as Greg leads the male ensemble who collectively stand out for their effortless energetic movement. Scott Morris as Mark brings an innocence and vulnerability to the portrayal of his character and Anita Louise Combe as Cassie delivers a performance equal to the star quality of her character and builds The Music and the Mirror through to a touching conclusion.
While the cast are all highly professional, this production just seems to lack the spark and wow factor that the show demands.
A Chorus Line focuses on the life of the performer and the challenges that are associated with it. Audiences will be transported into this world and educated in the reality of the industry. For those in the industry it is a confronting and personal realisation of what it is they do for the love and passion of their craft.
The show has no gimmicks or special effects, relying solely on characterisation and performance. In this case, unfortunately, some of the characters are not enough to round off what is otherwise a very insightful and enjoyable show.
A Chorus Line
Her Majesty's Theatre Melbourne
Until March 3 2012