Thursday, 14 February 2013

Singularly sensational



"Commonly rare, very unique,
Peripatetic, poetic and chic."


Sally, Madam Arcati and I were privileged to get tickets for a preview of the long-awaited [it hasn't played here since 1976!] West End revival of A Chorus Line last night, in the glittering hallows of the London Palladium, no less.

A show that is evidently not to everyone's taste (some confused, stupid individuals walked out halfway through - they hadn't a clue what it was they had come to see), it is and has always been one of our all-time favourites here at Dolores Delargo Towers, and is the late Marvin Hamlisch's finest hour. The tunes are all camp standards, and the dance routines legendary.

For those not already in the know (and shame on you if you don't know the story), the whole point of the narrative is the revelatory back-stories of a group of eager - nay, deperate - individuals as they endure the rigours of a genuine Broadway audition (not the kind of trial-by-telly shit we have as prime-time "entertainment" these days, although some of the benighted audience did appear to believe they were there to whoop and screech like the inmates of a mental asylum the X-Factor rent-a-crowd). A motley crew of attractive "Tits and Ass" [and what gorgeous arses those boys possess!], their savaging at the hands of the omnipotent impresario Zach (John Partridge, who used to play a gay character in EastEnders apparently) is in turn touching, funny and tragic.

From the opening numbers I Hope I Get It and I Can Do That to the classic denouement we loved it - despite there being no interval in a two hour show - the three of us sat enthralled, choking back the lumps in the throat, and sighing with sheer rapture as the tales and the songs took us through the dramatic journey of ambition, successes and disappointments. It was a truly wonderful production!

Particular highlights included the streetwise-yet-glam Sheila (Leigh Zimmerman, whose song is At The Ballet), the heart-rending monologue by former drag queen Paul (Gary Wood, who, despite his brilliance could have been a bit more camp in my opinion), the interplay between Zach and his too-talented former lover Cassie (Scarlett Strallen, whose keynote number is The Music and the Mirror), the paean to plastic surgery Dance: Ten; Looks: Three [Tits and Ass] by the cocky Val (Rebecca Herszenhorn), the energetic Gimme The Ball number with Ritchie (James T Lane), the ensemble number on the classic What I Did for Love and the marvellous Nothing sung by Diana (Victoria Hamilton-Barritt).



Based on true stories, A Chorus Line revolutionised Broadway, becoming the longest running musical in New York theatre history, breaking records, winning nine Tony Awards, seven Drama Desk Awards, the New York Critics’ Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

And of course, its campest-of-camp legacy is this number - One (Singular Sensation):



A Chorus Line officially opens on 19th February - book tickets now!

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