It is the musical that probably will live forever, and everyone certainly remembers its name. Fame The Musical is on tour and celebrating its thirtieth anniversary, based of course on the eighties movie, Nick Winston directs and choreographs this story of the hardships that inevitably come in the pursuit of your dreams.
It follows a group of students throughout their time at New York’s High School of Performing Arts, or ‘PA’ for short. It’s a popular school, everyone wants to go there “since they made that movie” says Miss Sherman in a nod to the musical’s roots, but it also serves as a reminder that this is a different incarnation and very different to the film version. The characters have different names with roughly the same roles, though there are too many of them, and not enough time to explore the characters fully.
While the musical version lacks the depth of its celluloid cousin, it does retain the feel-good factor, and that famous title song still delights audiences, so much so it is reprised as the finale, ensuring everyone can get to their feet and join in the fun. This production of Fame The Musical gives off an impressive look thanks to Morgan Large’s design, as modern lighting is used to create the draughty corridors and rehearsal spaces of the 1980’s school. The backdrop is a wall of yearbook photos which light up creating bright colour schemes to monochromatic drama.
Despite the lack of any real meaty roles, the whole cast do well to inject some life and personality in to their respective characters. Keith Jack is particularly impressive as Nick, as is Albey Brookes as Joe. However, it is the female members of the cast who really shine, Stephanie Rojas is a strong Carmen, while Molly McGuire threatens to steal the show as Serena. Jorgie Porter demonstrates considerable ability in both dance and vocals, while Mica Paris truly earns a mid-show standing ovation for a literally show-stopping performance.
Fame The Musical relies more on performance than plot, and this anniversary production manages to make the most of the talented cast. A powerful score combines with fantastic choreography to make this a more than enjoyable night out for the audiences who fondly remember the aspirational movie which inspired a generation.