THIS SEEMS to be the year of big revival tours, following hot on the heels of ‘Rocky Horror Show’ and ‘Hair’ comes an opulent offering of the modern classic ‘Fame’.
What I really admire about this particular musical which was conceived and developed by Davis de Silva from the popular original TV series, is that is in no way a jukebox show – there are a wealth of fabulous numbers and importantly – they are not musical distractions rather – relevant signposts in the storyline.
‘FAME’ emphasises time and again that fame is earned not bought and achieved through dedication, hard work and of course talent. From the lights-up audition-time get-go we share the journey of our drama, dance and musical students at the legendary Fame academy.
Jose Fernandez who wrote the stage book, is not afraid to tackle difficult issues either like drug abuse, depression, disappointment and dyslexia. The little stories all interlink in perfect synergy coming together in the final survivor’s graduation.
This is a large cast production, full of energy and much of it quite rightly straight in your face – but there is subtlety too – to the point we are eavesdropping on private conversations at times.
Mica Paris is all-powerful as Miss Sherman who has the unenviable task of making sure these arts wannabes also get their 3R’s-academia education alongside the acting, dancing, singing and musical instrument playing. Her height is imposing, her speaking voice authoritative and her singing so full of soul it makes the hairs on the back of you neck tingle.
Stephanie Rojas brings depth to Carmen, we know she’s too impatient and we know her story is going to end in tears and we feel her pain.
Keith Jack makes the best of Nick who acts from his groin and is delightfully brash. Hayley Johnson is an endearing Mabel, Jorgie Porter a gorgeous Iris and Simon Anthony brings warmth to the shy genius that is Schlomo.
My special mention goes to the ever-watchable Jamal Kane Crawford as Tyrone. His portrayal of a brilliant dance student who won’t admit he can’t read is an extraordinary performance and the final confrontation between him and Miss Sherman a magical bonding moment.
Nick Winston’s direction and choreography is near faultless and the band under the direction of Tim Whiting – loud, proud and spot on!
Show business is a tough business and the show ends on a new beginning for the students who have touched our hearts and thrilled our ears. It seemed almost like a reality show and thoroughly deserved its’ standing ovation.
This is the first leg of a long tour and is highly recommended.
It runs at the Malvern Theatres until Saturday, July 13.
The show is suitable for those aged 12 and upwards.
Click here for times, to book tickets and for more information.