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By Gerry Parker, Bristol Evening Post
March 29, 2005

Bristol Hippodrome: Fame The Musical

It seems incredible to think that it was way back in the 1980's that the series from which this show was born made such an impact on our TV screens.
Even my wife, by no means a big fan of pop music and modern dancing, was so taken by its electric energy, sho would not miss an episde.
The question was, could this stage version generate the same zest for life? Or would its paper-thin story of youngsters desperately fighting to break into show business turn out to be a poor man's A Chorus Line?
Since it first came out on your a few years back, this show has gradually built up a cult following of people who know every dot and comma in the script and every note in the limited score. Their answer to the first question would be a resounding "yes".
In the sense that this production has verve and vitality coming out of its ear by the bucketful, they are quite right. The 16-strong group of young dancers and singers go through the various routines and big vocals with their foot on the throttle pedal flat to the boards. Even the dialogue often receives the same treatment.
A few more moments, like the sadly underused Barbara Dickson - who plays the stern academic head of the school - singing These Are Our Children and the beautifully danced pas de deux from Tyrone and Iris that followed, would have added greater variety and taken nothing away from the overall pace and drive.
You will search long to find a pacier, more efficient production, where the combined talents of those on and off stage blend so seamlessly into one.
This is high-octane entertainment, with ensemble work of top-class order which, for all of that, would benefit from a few quieter moments - although I doubt that most of the three million-plus people who have so far seen the production will agree with me.

 

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