A Chorus Line is not a great musical. Marvin Hamlisch's tunes are serviceable, but he was never in the top league of Broadway composers, and the book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante is no great shakes.
What sets it apart is the innovative and inspired staging by Michael Bennett. This production is one of those carbon-copy affairs, directed by Bob Avian who co-choreographed it on Broadway in 1975, but smacks of a franchise, but when the cast are dancing the show takes wing. The star of the show is undeniably the stauesque Leigh Zimmerman brilliant as Shiela, the 30-something blonde with a gift for wisecracks. When she is on stage one looks at nobody else. Scarlett Strallen as Cassie, the failed star seeking a comeback job sings her big number, The Music and the Mirror, very well indeed but her dance routine fails to thrill. And while Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Diana delivers the closing ballad, What I Did For Love, superbly, it comes out of the blue as previously her character has made no impact at all.
Of the men Adam Salter, who gets to perform I Can Do That, does some amazing things.
As a dance show A Chorus Line is well worth seeing, even if the final chorus line in golden evening dress and top hats belting out One Singular Sensation is something of an anticlimax – and it is obvious from the start who is going to fail the audition.