Giving a unique and intimate perspective into the realities of an audition room, ‘A Chorus Line’ is certainly one singular sensation! Rolling out the red carpet, Beenleigh Theatre Group delivered a Broadway-level production, one that audiences should definitely line up to see.
‘A Chorus Line’, with music by Marvin Hamlisch, book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante and lyrics by Edward Kleban, follows seventeen dancers as they audition for a limited spot in a chorus line. The plot delves into the various personalities, histories, and mysteries of each dancer, leaving the audience lusting to know more about each auditionee, and secretly vying for their favourite dancer to score the role.
Despite opening in 1975, ‘A Chorus Line’ is every bit as relevant today. The intertwining themes and topics of the show leave audiences experiencing such powerful and raw emotional truths. With a fantastic mix of honesty and humour, ‘A Chorus Line’ has something for everyone.
As both director and choreographer, Stewie Matthews has outdone himself in delivering a professional production on an amateur stage. Each cast member was so perfect for his or her role; it was as if these characters were made specifically for them. Matthews expertly chose his team and it shows. With Sharon Moore as assistant director, Matthews and Moore have proven that they “can do that” when it comes to casting and directing a show.
Given that ‘A Chorus Line’ displays the nuances and realities of a dance audition, the dancing needed to be a showcase – and it was definitely en pointe! Covering a wide variety of styles, Matthews handled the task of choreography beautifully. Mike’s (Clay English) twinkle toes tap routine was a particular highlight. The full ensemble numbers were also stunning – particularly the ballet pas de deux sequence during At The Ballet.
Steven Days’ musical direction was impeccable. The cast displayed some stunning vocals, with Diana’s (Taylah McLennan) Nothing being a testament to that. Not to mention the gorgeous harmonies and full ensemble sound in all company numbers by both the stage and booth singers. Days’ band was simply flawless. The band delivered professional toe tapping accompaniment, leaving many in the audience wanting to go back for a second time, just to hear the band again!
In a show that focuses on the beauty of the chorus line, it is hard to pinpoint stand out performances. Everyone was so well suited to their roles that it was easy to forget that they were acting. As the show’s director Zach, Zander Tidmarsh essentially brings the show to life. Sitting amongst the audience, Tidmarsh still commands the stage.
His voice and tone are perfect for that of a ‘let’s just get this over with’ type of director at the start of the show and yet, we see him take his character through a plethora of emotions as he discovers more about the lives and experiences of his auditionees. Tidmarsh switches from a monotonous and emotionless voice amongst the crowd, to a moving and motivational man – a feat that is perfect for this role.
As Cassie, Jackie Brewster was a dancing delight. A struggling actress trying to remake herself amongst a younger crowd on Broadway, Brewster encapsulates Cassie’s emotions beautifully. Phil Maas demonstrated raw talent as he revealed his character Paul’s difficulties. Covering some incredibly traumatic topics, Maas was authentic and awe-inspiring.
Jeremy Clark’s Mark is also one to note. With quite a bit to confess, Clark demonstrates quick wit and cheeky humour at its finest. As Sheila, Aimee Monement was sarcastic, sassy and sexy. Monement brought an attitude to the stage that commanded each scene. Monement’s trio with Leah Humbert and Brooke Duffin during At The Ballet was a particular stand out musical moment. The finale, One, really brought to life the magic of a musical. With familiar show-stopping numbers, ‘A Chorus Line’ is filled with everything a musical needs – the behind the scenes insight into what the cast is really thinking.
The full cast and company of BTG’s ‘A Chorus Line’ should be commended for their outstanding production. Everything from the staging, costuming, and lighting was so incredibly authentic to that of an audition room that it was easy to forget you were actually watching people acting. ‘A Chorus Line’ is natural and it is clear that the entire company really do not regret what they do for love!
‘A Chorus Line’ was presented by Beenleigh Theatre Group and plays until February 15. Tickets are still available at http://beenleightheatregroup.com.
This article was edited by Shane Webb.