Touring through the autumn 2018
Review: Graham Clark, Manchester Palace, 27 July 2018
Back to the 80s with Fame
If you remember the era of leg warmers and ra-ra skirts then you probably watched the pop culture film, Fame. I never saw the film so watching this top class production meant I had no pre-conceived ideas.
The musical follows the lives of students at New York’s High School For The Performing Arts as they start at the arts school until they graduate. Of course there are the contrasting characters such as the extrovert Joe, the over confident Tyrone, the thoughtful Nick and the ambitious Carmen – and that’s just some of the students.
There are the delightful dance teacher Miss Bell, the calm Mr Myers and the German Mr Scheinkopf. Overseeing everything is the Principal, Miss Sherman played by late 80’s UK Soul singer, Mica Paris best remembered for her introductory hit, My One Temptation.
Receiving a standing ovation as she sang a commanding version of These Are My Children, it was rightly deserved. She sang with real feeling loosing none of her soulful touch in the process.
The stage set is a simple one, the dancing ranges from ballet to street dancing. The songs might not be well known to many unless you have seen the film version, the theme song was ideally placed coming half way through the first half, although the power in which it was delivered was more like a finale.
We see the characters develop as the years at the Art School progress with Carmen deciding to leave and find success in Los Angeles, she gets wrapped up in the drug culture with the resulting over dose. Apart from that it is a feel good musical though I have to say the second half is better than the first. It is in the second half that we start to discover more about the personalities of the students.
Dreams begin to turn sour and we find that everything is not always so good in show business.
The dance routines as you might imagine are energetic, youthful and invigorating from this young and talented class.
The title track gets a reprise at the end of the show- everyone is up on their feet. Perhaps just like the lyric in the song, Fame will live forever.
JORGIE PORTER – IRIS
JAMAL CRAWFORD – TYRONE
KEITH JACK – NICK
MOLLY McGUIRE – SERENA
STEPHANIE ROJAS – CARMEN
ALBEY BROOKES – JOE
HAYLEY JOHNSON – MABEL
SIMON ANTHONY – SCHLOMO
ALEXANDER ZANE – GOODY
LOUISA BEADEL – LAMBCHOPS
MICA PARIS – MISS SHERMAN
KATIE WARSOP – MISS BELL AND RESIDENT CHOREOGRAPHER
CAMERON JOHNSON – MR MYERS AND RESIDENT DIRECTOR
GRAHAM HOADLY – MR SCHEINKOPF