FAME

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Charting the incredible highs and emotional lows of student life in the New York School of Performing Arts, Fame returns to the stage in a brand new Selladoor production celebrating the 30th year of the gritty and gutsy musical.

Demonstrating the talent, determination & drive needed to succeed in showbiz, the production acts as a vibrant showcase for the multi-talented cast who impress from the start. There are complex relationships, desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs as the production covers themes of prejudice, drug addiction, sexuality and perseverance as we see the pupils develop from nervous newbies to seriously talented seniors.

Mica Paris raises the roof as Miss Sherman with her stirring and soulful delivery of These Are My Children, receiving a well deserved and rarely seen mid-show standing ovation. She is fierce, feisty and unforgettably fabulous.

Other notable performances come from Keith Jack and Molly McGuire as Nick and Serena, the chemistry between the two believable and charming as slow on the uptake & innocently uptight Nick begins to realise all work and no play isn’t perhaps the key to success.

Stephanie Rojas gives a powerful performance as troubled Carmen full of sass and bubbling anger while Jorgie Porter and Jamal Kane Crawford as Iris & Tyrone give an elegant injection of dance, both clearly having great fun with their roles.

Aside from the title track the soundtrack is fairly forgettable, although the cast deliver each song with gusto, there’s nothing in there that can match the ear worm worthiness of the legendary Fame. The years from enrolment to graduation move swiftly, never really allowing quite enough time with any character to fully invest in their story, just as we begin to feel a connection we’re onto the next scene, that said each scene is well acted and creativity delivered there’s just not quite the emotional depth of other coming of age musicals.

This fast paced action does however ensure the story never gets dull as some characters rise while others fall proving unquestionably that Fame is fickle.

Designer Morgan Large’s set is impressive, bold and striking, lit beautifully by Prema Mehta while Nick Winston’s choreography delivers the high-energy ensemble pieces we know and love from the 1980’s film and subsequent award-winning TV series.

Ending with a blistering performance of the title track, Fame will undoubtedly entertain while the powerful performances will certainly impress. Pacy, punchy and packed full of energy, catch Fame at the Palace Theatre until Saturday 28th July tickets can be found here.

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