Threshold Theatre Company presented the legendary Broadway musical, A Chorus Line, one of the longest running musicals in New York theatre history at Norwich Theatre Playhouse last week.
Set in New York City in 1975 on a Broadway stage, this show examines one day in the lives of a group of dancers, who start as strangers as they are all auditioning for a new show. The show starts off with the stage full of dancers learning choreography and showing off their skills. The director, Zach, quickly whittles them down to seventeen dancers who go through to the next stage of the auditions.
Due to the nature of the show he is directing, Zach wants to learn more about this group of strangers, gets them to dig deep and share their personal stories and where their love of dance comes from. This audition is more unusual than most and takes all day, as each dancer start to share their own personal journey, the group starts to bond knowing, however, that there is only space for eight of them and all seventeen of them need this job.
One of the dancers, Cassie, was a growing star who is now failing and needs to go back to the beginning as she needs the money. But a talented dancer, it is difficult for her to be like the others and blend in – plus her and Zach had some history, which adds to the tension.
Each dancer shares their story about how they got to this audition, many have gone through trials and tribulations to get there, others are running out of time as they get older and some are having fun. One of the dancers, Paul, hurts his leg on one of the moves and has to go to hospital, which makes the group reflect on how precious time is but also what would they do if they could no longer dance.
It is one scene: dance auditions at the theatre, and with the director at the back of the audience, we were delightfully following the auditions and stories as they happen. Their stories are full of ambition, childhood, shattered dreams, humour, warmth… in fact a large mix as to be expected, and all engaging.
The stories are intermixed with song and dance fit for a 70s Broadway show and this is what makes it fun. We see snippets of choreography which all lead to the fabulous spangly, glittery showpiece at the end
Classic songs: “I Hope I Get It”, “I Can Do That”, “What I did For Love”, and of course “One” which you can sing along to if you know the words.
There were a few standout performances and for an amateur production their energy and enthusiasm was top notch. All of the cast looked as though they were having the time of their lives, which only added to the enthralling nature of the performance.