It’s over 40 years since A Chorus Line premiered, but it is as good and as powerful a piece of theatre to this day – especially when done well. This new production by local company Apollo does it better than well, they do it brilliantly. It depends on many things, fine ensemble work, great solo performances, thrilling dancing and terrific vocal skills. Apollo deliver them all. With, for the most part, a solo piano accompaniment, the songs have a clarity that allows the clever lyrics to shine. The well drilled company can certainly dance and vocally they shine, beautiful harmonies and precision diction, essential when a piece of musical theatre is driven by lyric and not just by dialogue.
But at the heart of this work are the stories of the kids on the audition line, and good singing and dancing would simply not be enough, so hats of to the entire featured cast all of whom had me captivated. In particular Michelle Titherly who gave Sheila the right amount of sass, Daniel Walford as the very strange Bobby, Kate Booth who delivers the heartbreaking number Nothing with real class and too many more to name all.
But if one name stands out is is Hari Johnson who has the largest and toughest monologue to deliver as Paul, a young gay Puerto Rican dancer with an amazing coming out story to tell. Hari nails it and reduces the audience to a chilled silence as he uncovers his past with breathtaking sensitivity. I cried and I do not think I was alone.
If I had any misgivings it would be with the sound quality at times in the large ensemble numbers, where some of the funnier vocal lines were lost, but it is a tiny quibble that does not affect my opinion of this fine achievement. Tears, laughs and passion sum up this show and this production delivered them all in spades.
The Old Market