posted/updated: 03 Oct 2011 -
A Chorus Line
James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante
society/company: The BRIT School
performance date: 12 May 2011
venue: Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking
reviewer/s: Nicole Rose (Independent review)
The BRIT School is Britain's only FREE Performing Arts and Technology School. It is an independent, state funded City College for the Technology of the Arts, the only one of its kind dedicated to education and vocational training for the performing arts, media, art and design and the technologies that make performance possible and on Thursday 12th May I went to the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking to watch their production of "A CHorus Line".
I must admit that even though I am a lover of all things Musical Theatre "A Chorus Line" is not one of my favourite, must see, shows. However, having previously attended a performance by The BRIT School (albeit a few years ago) I know they produce a high standard of peerformer.
With nineteen main characters, the show is set on the bare stage of a Broadway theatre during an audition to be part of the chorus line for a musical. The show provides a glimpse into the personalities of the performers as they describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers. So, was I right to attend "A Chorus Line" or did I waste my time on this "one"?
On entering the audotorium the stage was a hive of activity with around 40 students all dressed in their dance gear. The set was simple but effective, with 6 eight foot mirrors at the back which gave it the feel of a dance studio and a simple line running across the front of the stage, which the successfull auditionees would have to stand on and await their fate.
The first amongst many things to impress me was by how with so many performers on stage at once, that there were no stumbled dance moves with people tripping over one another, each dancer was fully aware of thier surroundings. The opening number was fantastic and with the entire ensemble singing it really packed a punch.
Director Zach, played by James Roach walked the audotorium with a superior air about him. He barked his orders at the auditionees and his assistant and choreographer, Laurie, danced on stage teaching the dancers the routine. Eventually the dancers were whittled down to 17 hopefulls, of which only 4 girls and 4 boys were going to be successful.
One by one each dancer took it in turn to step forward, stop acting, and share some information about them which is not on their resume. Although nervous, each dancer eager for the oppertunity to be in a Broadway show, starts to impart stories about their youth, their family and the reasons why they wanted to first be a dancer.
It was during these small scened that I was able to see each actors character and it was very aparent that all these young actors had really thought about their characters because their acting skills very there for everyone to see. Although all of these young adults showed great potential I must make mention of two students who I really "believed" and who went beyond the realms of a year 13 Musical Theatre Class.
Myles Hart as Paul had me in tears during his monologue where he emotionally relives his childhood and high school experience, his early career in a drag act, coming to terms with his manhood and his homosexuality, and his parent's ultimate reaction to finding out about his alternative lifestyle. Couple this superior acting with his beautiful and powerful singing voice and the vulnerable character he portrayed so skillfully it made out for an oscar worthy performance. The other stand out performer, for me, was Georgia Brown as the wickedly quick quipped, valium popping, Sheila Bryant. She looked and sounded the part, which is no mean feat at such a young age. Sheila is hung up about her age, flirtatious and desperate to get this job as her time in the chorus line is rapidly coming to an end. I enjoyed Miss Brown's portrayal and I can see her playing other character parts in the professional world. Do we see a future Madame Thernadier or Mrs Lovett in our midst? I would defimitely pay money to see this young lady perform.
Overall, the whole production was a resounding success. Brilliantly directed by Katy Sechiari with effective Choreography by Sarah Dunning. The only sore point was my aching backside by the end of the show, with no interval it did feel like a long show, but this really didn't mar an otherwise excellent production. As far as I am concerned the standing ovation these kids received at the end was more than well deserved. Well Done to all involved!!