Review: SUSU Showstoppers ‘A Chorus Line’

The latest performance from the Showstoppers crew is good but not without its flaws


3 star

‘A Chorus Line’ by the SUSU Showstoppers had its opening night on Wednesday evening in front of a considerably sized audience for a show in the Annex Theatre. Boasting an extremely large cast of 24 actors and actresses, the show was good but not without its flaws. The majority of the performance is based around musical numbers and I cannot fault the choreography and vocals of the cast, who each impress in their own unique ways when their character is in the spotlight. Despite this, there is very little explanatory dialogue, making the story somewhat vague. One member of the audience said that ‘There is a little too much singing and not enough little exposition to the story for me to really care.’

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This is my biggest problem with ‘A Chorus Line’. Whilst there are some stand out performances, such as Andy Banks (Zach), Elise Palmer (Sheila) and Jamie Martin (Bobby), the story is really lacking throughout. Without giving away too many spoilers for those that are still to see the show, it is never clear who the main character is. The story expects you to like EVERY character trying to win a role in Zach’s latest show. When you have 18 of these wannabe dancers trying to impress Zach, it’s hard to engage when they are all portrayed sympathetically. There needs to be variety in there and without a clear direction of who the audience should like and dislike, all the characters just get lost in the crowd. Couple this with a lack of an intermission, which is usually standard in theatre, the two hour performance starts to drag on and I found myself fading by the final half hour.

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This isn’t to say that there is no story whatsoever, it’s just that the story isn’t very interesting or engaging.  It is also unfortunately littered with plot holes (like Zach constantly saying he is looking for eight dancers, only to pick 9 with no explanation) and story arcs that just get completely ignored (two characters suffered from serious issues that the show opens up, but then they just kind of laugh it off and never go back to it). The band is extremely loud and I know there are issues caused by the design of the Annex Theatre that make it noisier, but it was unbearably loud at times, and drowned out entire sections of the cast’s dialogue. Overall it is a decent musical with strong vocals and impressive choreography, it just lacks a compelling story that will keep you engaged the whole time.