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4 Stars
By Lawrence Poole

A SCATTERING of leg warmers, a plethora of hammy New Yawk accents and a gleaming yellow taxi waiting to be clambered all over - it could all add up to only one thing, the kids from Fame are here and ready to sing and dance their outs out for us.

Incredibly it is 24 years since Alan Parker's fondly remembered flick about the trials and tribulations of a group of students at the Big Apple's School of Performing Arts first took the big screen by storm.

Yet while the clothes and overly sentimental music may sound dated, the ideal or achieving notoriety has never been more pertinent.

With the script for Adam Spiegel and Mark Goucher's hugely successful touring show wisely given a 21st century edge, the majority of the cast are themselves aptly graduates from UK versions of the fame schools.

Learning their trades under the like of Doreen Bird and Sylvia Young, of the cast it is Craig Stein who leads from the front.

Sent to win our hearts like a modern day Leroy Johnson, Stein plays Tyrone Jackson a precocious dancer taken from the streets of New York who lacks the academical prowess to complete his course.

Cultural headaches

Backed by a host of teens face with their own cultural and religious headaches, there is someone for everyone to identify with as they each find their own way, and that in a nutshell is why it works.

A dynamic live orchestra soundtracks their hopes and fears, as their graduation day draws closer.

Touching on drug, weight and literacy issues the cast rightly show that achieving success is no smooth ride, without detracting from the overall feel good vibe of the show.

While musical numbers like the hero worship of Think of Meryl Streep and innocent I Want To Make Magic prove hits, it's predictably the theme song, which draws the biggest reaction.

So when all the relationship loose ends are firmly tied up at the close, there is nothing else to do but for the band to strike up one more time, while the cast go into glorious freestyle mode.

Whether or not the number of youngsters wishing to join the showbiz set continues to balloon, their should always be a place for a production which showcases why and how they would want to achieve it in the first place.

Fame the Musical is on at The Lowry until Saturday, August 28. Tickets £14 - £26.50.

Call the Box office on 0870 7875793 or click here to book online.


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