A Chorus Line – The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of SA

A Chorus Line – The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of SA

A Chorus Line was originally written as a musical in 1975 winning 9 Tony Awards in 1976 and subsequently becoming a Hollywood Movie released in 1985 with Michael Douglas in the role of Choreographer Zach.

This production could easily hold its own with the original Broadway production and the Hollywood version.  Gordon Combes as director is superbly assisted by Mark DeLaine as Music Director and Sarah Williams as Choreographer and together they have assembled an outstanding cast.

David MacGillivray as Zach – Is there nothing this performer cannot do?  His drive, his passion, his empathy ooze through every word uttered throughout his wanderings of the theatre space.  Amazing newcomer, Bailey Edwards as Larry – assistant choreographer – has incredible ability in an astounding range of dance styles.  Alana Shepherdson as Cassie is exactly where she is meant to be – on the stage.  Her passion for dance is palpable without the bitchy entitlement.  She is happy to shine when required but also sit back and let others have their time in the limelight, offering encouragement and support.

Allycia Angeles as Morales is another relative newcomer to theatre as a performer having spent most of her very young life as a dancer.  Her rendition of “Nothing” brought goose-bumps.  Maggie Cooper as Judy portrayed the gawky, small town dancer with big dreams but deer in the headlights personality to a T.  Laura Williams as Val could never be mistaken for a shy wallflower.  She is bold and brash and holds nothing back in her role. Literally, it is all put out there for everyone to see.

Chloe Fusco as Bebe is an excellent choice in the role of a shy, somewhat awkward teen who only shines when she is dancing, particularly ballet.  Mimi Yoshii as Connie was amazing as the pocket rocket who barely comes up to anyone’s knee.  What she lacked in stature she certainly made up for in ability.  Jemma Allen as Kristine must be an amazing singer because only someone that good could sound that bad.  Her “Sing” duet with Al had the audience in stitches.

Maya Miller as Maggie showed us what it was to be able to pick yourself up from bad situations and still look upon the world with hope and be believable.  Jenny Allard as Sheila, whilst playing the role of the ageing dancer looking for just one more show, still had the moves and ability to hold her own with such an amazing cast of dancers.  Lachlan Stieger as Paul I am not ashamed to say had me crying, not during his speech about his upbringing, but when he falls and the reality hits everyone about the life expectancy of a dancer.  This was played extremely well without being overdone and making the audience feel like we were being forced to be sympathetic.

Liam Phillips as Mike is such a cheeky character and shows absolutely no remorse at having taken over his sisters dance lessons which obviously paid off because his tap routine to “I can do that” was so full of fun and energy.  Junxiang Huang (Shane) as Ritchie really didn’t have to introduce himself to us as “I’m Ritchie and I’m Asian”, but it worked.  Right from the start of the show our eyes are telling us that we have a cast of very ethnically diverse performers but our brain transcends the obvious and what we see is a group of hopeful, battered, often flawed characters with a do or die attitude.  Billy St John as Gregory had the audience giggling along when he was describing his first romantic encounter with a girl as it was so believable and poignant at the same time.

Ris Mosel as Al, partner to Kristine had the whole protective vibe happening.  If you watched him closely when not the focus of the action, he was always in character, moving and directing his vocally challenged wife around the stage.  Benjamin Johnson as Bobby was such a hoot.  He is the pretentious, stick up his butt character we all love to hate but have to have around so we don’t look at ourselves too closely.  Teagan Garvey as Mark was an absolute whirlwind as a dancer and in the beginning, before “One”, his movement and dance was a standout, which is saying something in a cast of exceptional dancers all round.  Finally to round out the principals is Anton Schrama as Don.  Whilst all the performers were looking for the next paycheck, his portrayal of a married man with the added responsibility of putting food on the table was palpable.

To round out the cast there were a miriad of exceptional dancers in Eloise Morriss, Kuan Teoh, Shivawn Young, Jade Patrick, Sophie Schwab, Adele Pepper, Laura Shelley and special guest appearance of Sarah Williams.

This production had the audience on a roller-coaster of emotion as we learnt about each of the characters and felt we knew them.  Many an audience member left the theatre humming “One” which is a sign of an enjoyable night at the theatre.

I would be totally remiss if I did not mention the departments who always say if they are not mentioned then they have done their job well.  Lighting and Sound were totally on point – no pun intended.  They elevated the production to a new level without being noticeable which is what you want. Costumes, likewise were what you would expect from a cast of hopefuls attending an audition but then the spectacle of the Finale Costumes and the speed the cast would have had to change into them was mind-blowing.

Finally the Orchestra who were on-stage behind the mirrored wall created another layer of atmosphere and meant there was not a sound wall between the cast and the audience.  This was extremely clever, although did mean the big finale felt a little cramped with less stage to be able to work with.

This show is absolutely worth seeing and I am sure you will kick yourself if you miss out.  Get along to the Arts Theatre between now and the 3rd June for a fabulous night out.

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This production was reviewed by:

Jacqui Wall
Jacqui Wall
Involved in theatre since 1980, with Scout Performing Arts then later branching out to TASA companies. Jacqui has been involved in many aspects of theatre including: cast, directing, production and stage management and most other departments. Jacqui has been fortunate to learn lighting from some of the best including Bill Everett of Apollo Lighting.

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