A blog raveled in randomness
I felt a new shade of emotional area after watching the musical ‘A Chorus Line’ at the London Palladium because up until now, I have been highly praising all of the musicals I have watched in London. However, I cannot lie but to say that I was a little dissappointed with the musical performance. Firstly to reiterate, I do not listen to the soundtrack and read a summary of the storyline or performance reviews prior to seeing the musical. Secondly, the opinions I hold are personal, which means that the reasons I state in this post might not be a negative factor for you. So that being said, I thought the musical was a bit of a disappointment for me.
The impressive parts were the lightings and choreography. The lightings were used effectively as the characters (who are auditioning as dancers) showed their inner trepidation under the navy blue or red light while their instructor Zach (played by John Partridge) continued giving instructions. Even though the characters are trying so hard to smile and maintain their best ‘I’m-so-happy-to-be-here’ faces during the audition, a sudden blue light strikes across their face and confesses their fear and tiredness. These moments of irony were amusing for me, and I thought the usage of mirrors also made the performances more aesthetically intriguing and beautiful. The choreography clearly showed the thought the creator put in relation to ‘line’. The people were often grouped and lined up, which was a great formation as a group to introduce various characters and hear them out when telling their personal stories and intimately share their past.
That was another interesting part of the musical: slowly learning the characters not only as desperate people trying to get a job but as people who had an enduring past like everyone else. So I thought the melancholy element to this story is that even though everyone has the same passion, same pain and same story of how they got to where they are now, there are always going to be a limited seats of entry. Based on true stories, this musical portrayed real life problems with relatable characters. This aspect of constantly learning about numerous characters from beginning to end is unique that cannot often be seen in other musicals.
So why was I a bit (notice the minuscule degree) disappointed? The elements of the musical I mentioned above are integral to the original Broadway show, however I was a bit disappointed with the actual performance. I am not saying that the performers were off key or were in bad conditions vocally, but the same singing techniques (where the voice sounds like it is swallowed in the back of the neck) were used by all the performers. I do not like that singing technique. I prefer clear voices that are belt out with clear cut sound and do not have a mute effect. So because of this small thing I noticed from the performers, I could not enjoy their music at the full extent. I am weird that way, but I cannot help it.
From the musicals I have seen so far in London, I have to admit that ‘A Chorus Line’ is at the bottom of my personal ranking. There were funny moments when characters shared their childhood stories, dramatic moments with the romantic tension between Zach and Cassie (played by Scarlett Strallen) and mixture of sad and happy moments with the final announcement of who made it through. Techniques were well executed and the lightings were smoothly transitioned, which gave a perfect illusory effect illustrating between outer-reality and inner-feelings simultaneously. However the performance was not as good as I expected. I would not recommend this musical for those who are searching for fantastical storyline with dynamic imaginary characters surrounded with intricately designed worlds of another dimension. (The simplistic setting of the stage was another charm of this musical for me.)
‘A Chorus Line’ website (London): www.achoruslinelondon.com