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Fame The Musical at the Princess Theatre, Torquay | Review

Fame The Musical Tour
Fame The Musical

Fame is a musical that will live on forever, and this production certainly doesn’t disappoint. It is full of charm, humour, and wit. While it sticks to the original that we all know and love, this energetic and fresh-faced cast brings a new life to the classic musical.

The original 1980s film, which was later remade in 2009, follows young men and women who audition for the limited spaces at New York High School of Performing Arts, but soon learn ‘fame costs and right here is where you start paying in sweat‘.

The set was fundamentally a hall of fame, and immediately introduces you to their world, as you sit with hundreds of headshots of successful past alumni staring down at you, you experience – as the characters do, the very idea of ‘fame’ and the pressure of getting your lucky break. You’re then hit with the stark contrast of initially trying to realise your dreams and the harsh reality of actually achieving them. The cast cleverly manipulates the set to transform the space from a ballet studio to a locker room to the streets of New York in a simple yet very effective way.

The show opened with the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed hopeful students, desperate to gain a place at the school. The upbeat number of ‘Hard Work’ and the bright coloured costume choices, completely complemented each other in telling us how ‘bright’ their futures initially seemed.

The cast is made up of 22 performers but from their strong ensemble skills, it felt like a much larger cast. Jorgie Porter, best known for her role in Hollyoaks thrives in her role of ‘Iris’ and her dancing is stunning to watch. A special mention must be given to Serina Mathew who understudied the role of ‘Carmen’. She had such strong characterisation and fitted into the production seamlessly. There was a very honest moment very early on, wherein a single line we get to see the vulnerability of the character underneath the mask of bravado, which Mathew played beautifully. It wasn’t until I read the program during the interval that I realised she was understudying the role. Congratulations!

The showstopper, however, was Mica Paris, performing ‘These are my Children’. Paris had the entire theatre in the palm of her hand and the audience hung on her every word. It was beautiful, compelling and an absolute privilege to witness. She was very deserving of her standing ovation at the end of the number. Another moment that should be commended was by Molly McGuire during ‘Let’s play a love Scene’. It was here that you empathised with the character and it brought a new dynamic to the production.

Also, Albey Brookes and Hayley Johnston’s comic timing was timed to perfection and they brought fresh energy to the stage every time they were present.

Furthermore, it was a triumph of a production which was deserving of its standing ovation and leaves you humming its catchy songs all the way home. While it sticks to the classic it begins to breathe a new life into the 80s musical.

As I said at the start, Fame is a musical that will live on forever, and it left me wondering, how exciting it would be if it were to be set in the modern-day and depicted the pressure of fame in today’s world, the inescapable hall of fame we scroll through every single day. It was a very enjoyable evening. Congratulations to the entire cast and crew, it was a flying success.

4 stars

Review by Daniel Chambers

Based in 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.

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

Cast
Keith Jack – Nick
Mica Paris – Miss Sherman
Jorgie Porter – Iris
Jamal Kane Crawford
Molly McGuire – Serena
Stephanie Rojas – Carmen
Albey Brookes – Joe
Hayley Johnston – Mabel
Simon Anthony – Schlomo
Alexander Zane – Goody
Louisa Beadel – Lambchops
Katie Warsop – Miss Bell & Resident Choreographer
Spencer Lee Osborne – Mr Myers
Duncan Smith – Mr Sheinkopf
Morgan Jackson – Male Ensemble
Tom Mussell – Male Ensemble
Ryan Kayode – Male Ensemble
Daisy Edwards – Off-Stage Swing
Serina Mathews – Female Ensemble
Lauren Crooks – Off-Stage Swing
Courtney George – Off-Stage Swing
Jay Le Marrec – Off-Stage Swing

CREATIVES
NICK WINSTON – Director/Choreographer
MORGAN LARGE – Designer
PREMA MEHTA – Lighting Designer
BEN HARRISON – Sound Designer
MARK CROSSLAND – Musical Supervisor
RYAN-LEE SEAGER – Assistant Choreographer
LEE TASSIE – Costume Supervisor
DUSTIN CONRAD – Musical Director

Princess Theatre, Torquay
Torbay Road, Torquay TQ2 5EZ
Monday 1st July 2019 – Saturday 6th July 2019
Running Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Performances: Mon to Sat at 19:30, Wed and Sat 14:30
Age guidance 12 +

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