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Fame The Musical at New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Fame The MusicalSince it first hit the big screen in 1980, Fame has been a staple of pop culture and people have been fighting the urge to don leg warmers and dance on Taxi Cabs ever since. Despite solid source material, the 1988 stage version has never really received the same love and attention as its predecessors. In this latest revival, it’s finally been given some TLC and a fresh burst of energy to help it rise above its somewhat clumsy script.

As expected, Fame follows a group of young, aspiring creatives attending New York’s best academy for performing arts. As well as all the turmoils of trying to cut it in an unforgiving industry, they also have personal issues to contend with. Jamal Kane Crawford gives a star turn as the athletic dancer, Tyrone, who is struggling with dyslexia and Simon Anthony provides some much-needed softness with his sensitive portrayal of the composer, Schlomo. But the real star of the show is Stephanie Rojas as Carmen. Her vocals soar in the title number and she doesn’t shy away from her character’s dark journey into drug addiction. She’s both tragic and likeable in equal measure and a magnetic force throughout the show. Hayley Johnston performs wonderfully as Mabel, though the casting seems a little off here. Mabel refers to herself as “the worlds fattest dancer” and talks about how her weight gives her back problems. Johnston is no larger than any other girl in the cast and although this may be a move in favour of political correctness or even an attempt at holding a mirror up to an industry that has unrealistic weight expectations, it just doesn’t work alongside the shows dated script. It’s a shame as this is no fault of Johnston who really does shine throughout.

Where this production really comes into its own is the design and choreography. The walls are a grid of blown-up headshots that light up in different colours and patterns and bring instant energy to the stage. Mixed with the dynamic choreography by Nick Winston, the group numbers are really something to get your heart racing. The young cast executes the routines with pinpoint precision, never missing a beat and holding their own against the impressive visuals offered up by the flashy set.

It’s true that the lyrics are clunky, the dialogue lacklustre and the songs forgettable; but this production proves there’s life in the old dog yet; and if future productions are as slickly executed as this one then maybe, just maybe, it will live forever.

4 stars

Review by Dan Reeves

The definitive 30th-anniversary tour of Fame The Musical starring Keith Jack (Any Dream Will Do, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat), Mica Paris (Love Me Tender, Chicago, Mama I Want To Sing) and Jorgie Porter (Hollyoaks, Dancing On Ice).

Based on the 1980 phenomenal pop culture film, Fame The Musical is the international smash hit sensation following the lives of students at New York’s High School For The Performing Arts as they navigate their way through the highs and lows, the romances and the heartbreaks and the ultimate elation of life. This bittersweet but uplifting triumph of a show explores the issues that confront many young people today: prejudice, identity, pride, literacy, sexuality, substance abuse and perseverance.

Fame the Musical has seen seven West End runs since opening on Broadway in 1988 and continues to be one of the best-loved musicals across the world.

Featuring the Oscar-winning title song and a cast of outstanding dancers, singers, musicians and actors as they transform from star-struck pupils to superstars. Fame The Musical will indeed live forever.

Please note, this performance is recommended for ages 12+ it contains sexual, drug, mental health references and mild swearing.

Running time: Approx. 2hrs 30mins (incl. interval)

WIMBLEDON
NEW WIMBLEDON THEATRE
18 – 23 FEBRUARY 2019

INVERNESS
EDEN COURT
25 FEBRUARY – 2 MARCH 2019
01463 234 234

LIVERPOOL
LIVERPOOL EMPIRE THEATRE
11 – 16 MARCH 2019

GRIMSBY
AUDITORIUM
26 – 30 MARCH 2019

SWANSEA
GRAND THEATRE
1 – 6 APRIL 2019

SUNDERLAND
SUNDERLAND EMPIRE
8 – 13 APRIL 2019

STOKE
REGENT THEATRE
15 – 20 APRIL 2019

CAMBRIDGE
ARTS THEATRE
29 APRIL – 4 MAY 2019

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
MAAG HALLE
8 – 26 MAY 2019

BRISTOL
HIPPODROME THEATRE
10 – 15 JUNE 2019

DUBLIN
BORD GAIS
18 – 22 JUNE 2019

MILTON KEYNES
MILTON KEYNES THEATRE
24 – 29 JUNE 2019

TORQUAY
PRINCESS THEATRE
1 – 6 JULY 2019

MALVERN
MALVERN FESTIVAL THEATRE
8 – 13 JULY 2019

NEW BRIGHTON
FLORAL PAVILION
15 – 20 JULY 2019

PORTSMOUTH
KINGS THEATRE
22 – 27 JULY 2019

CANTERBURY
MARLOWE THEATRE
12 – 17 AUGUST 2019

BELFAST
GRAND OPERA HOUSE
19 – 24 AUGUST 2019

BOURNEMOUTH
BOURNEMOUTH PAVILION
26 – 31 AUGUST 2019

EASTBOURNE
CONGRESS THEATRE
2 – 7 SEPTEMBER 2019

LONDON
THE PEACOCK THEATRE
11 SEPTEMBER – 19 OCTOBER 2019

BUXTON
BUXTON OPERA HOUSE
4 – 9 NOVEMBER 2019

BARNSTAPLE
QUEENS THEATRE
12 – 16 NOVEMBER 2019

Fame: The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture

Author

1 thought on “Fame The Musical at New Wimbledon Theatre | Review”

  1. It is inaccurate and untrue that the 1988 stage version has never received the same love and attention as its predecessors. What preceded it was a movie and a tv series. Read the reviews from Miami and Philadelphia. What we created was a character-driven new theatre musical with a new score and the only song we needed to succeed with it was the Title song: Fame.
    I’m proud of all the talent around the world that has and will be forever performing in this show. as far as the movie and tv series, that talent can
    only sit and watch it on a screen. There is nothing like “live” theatre and that’s
    how “fame” really lives forever…

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