Last night saw the opening of Kinetic Theatre Arts’ production of Marvin Hamlisch’s 1975 Broadway favourite A Chorus Line at Cardiff’s Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
A Chorus Line places the audience in the midst of a gruelling audition for a Broadway musical, in which the unforgiving director Zach (Kit Sweet) must narrow down a room of 20+ hopefuls to four boys and four girls. As the story unfolds and the numbers are slashed, the audience is given an insight into the actors and dancers’ troubled pasts, dreams and aspirations, and fears of ageing and failure. The show portrays a gritty side of the arts and shows the challenges that actors/dancers/singers can face as they enter the cruel and unforgiving world of show business.
The whole cast gave genuine and believable performances as they embodied their characters in a unique and entertaining way. There were a few standout performances; particularly that of Val (Jade Wellbeloved) – her dancing was fantastic and her rendition of “Dance: Ten; Looks: Three” truly showcased her vocal talents. With an infectious stage presence, she looks at home on the big stage.
Other notable vocal performances included Bebe’s (Grace Morrison) segment of “At the Ballet” and Diana’s (Nadya Salway) performances of “Nothing” and “What I Did For Love.” There were also some well timed comedic moments from Ritchie (Aaron Parreno), Greg (Kieren Rankin) and Sheila (Kate Chadwick.)
The set was minimalistic and replicated that of a dance studio. The use of four large mirrors upstage was a subtle yet effective addition, particularly when the whole cast were on stage for the collective dance numbers. The addition of a live band on stage, located behind the four mirrors, was fantastic. It added an extra dimension to the whole performance and gave the iconic soundtrack a new lease of life and complimented the vocals of the cast perfectly.
Guided by Artistic Director and Producer Kris Crowley and Musical Directors Emma Pawsey and Liz York, the youthful cast gives a spirited and well executed performance of a revival of the Broadway favourite.
A Chorus Line runs at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama until Thursday, December 22nd.