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Fame – The Musical

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A spiritual parent to the likes of High School Musical and Glee, Fame, which charts the highs and lows of life at the New York School of Performing Arts, has a grittier underbelly capturing something of the talent, ego and determination necessary to make headway in the entertainment industry. Steve Margoshes’ contemporary score features a mix of musical styles to complement the diversity of training but with so much emotional territory to cover Jose Fernandez book tends to lack depth and character development.

At base level, Fame taps into the myths and realities of arts training and allows a cast of relative newcomers the chance to showcase their not inconsiderable talents to great effect. Joseph Giacone as class clown Joe Vegas packs some deceptively strong vocals behind his comedy skits and Molly Stewart practically stops the show with her glorious, gospel-styled Mabel’s Prayer. A gentler comedy of sorts is provided by Sarah Harlington as drama student Serena, as she tentatively negotiates the agonies of her unrequited love for Alex Jordan-Mills’ bookish Nick.

Alex Thomas as edgy street-dancer Tyrone and Sasi Strallen as ballet major Iris showcase Gary Lloyd’s vibrant choreography that throbs at the heart of this show. The real drama however is provided by Jodie Steele as the feisty Carmen. Steele’s edgy, confrontational style coupled with a soaring rock belt give real power to Carmen’s trajectory, doomed as it may be and blunts the saccharine edge that threatens to overpower the finale.

Paul Vale

  • New Wimbledon, London
  • February 24-March 1, then touring until June 21
  • Authors: David De Silva, Jose Fernandez book, Jacques Levy lyrics, Steve Margoshes music
  • Director/choreographer: Gary Lloyd
  • Musical supervisor: Tom De Keyser
  • Producer: Bill Kenwright
  • Cast includes: Jodie Steele, Sarah Harlington, Joseph Giacone, Molly Stewart, Alex Thomas, Sasi Strallen, Alex Jordan-Mills
  • Running time: 2hrs 30mins
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The Stage
The Stage is a British weekly newspaper and website covering the entertainment industry, and particularly theatre. It was founded in 1880. It contains news, reviews, opinion, features, and recruitment advertising.