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Home > Reviews > Theatre Review: Fame

BBCi Norwich
1st December 2004

Review by: Maggie Secker


The film and TV series might be an '80's flashback, but this musical tale of young people's dreams of making it big in the world of showbiz remain as true today as they ever were.

Fame - The Musical tells the story of star-struck pupils at New York's High School For Performing Arts.

We join them at the auditions for a place at PA and then follow them through the trials and triumphs, heartaches and romances that eventually lead to their graduation day.

There are certainly echoes of Pop Idol and Fame Academy in this show. The high energy of the cast makes it easy to understand why any youngster would aspire to 'being a star'.

The cast of Fame - The Musical is multi-talented down to the last with some great voices - but don't go to see this show expecting to reminisce in the songs like Hi-Fidelity and Starmaker, which became so popular with the whole Kids From Fame movement in the '80s.

This may disappoint a little if you were a fan of the TV series, but you can still sit back and enjoy the lyrics of the songs written for the show.

Joe, a saucy and sexy teenage Puerto Rican is convincing - played by James Haggie

His gyrating rendition of Can't Keep It Down was much appreciated by the audience. Though be prepared, if you're with the younger members of the family, you might have some explaining to do!

Michael Howell is the serious Nick Piazza who captures the heart of Serena Katz played by Rachel Hale. To be a first class performer is Nick's priority - his indifference to Serena's advances suggests to her that he's gay.

There were great performances by both actors who together, with James Haggie, take the leading roles. But it's fair to say that every member of the cast deserves their 15 minutes of fame.

The part of Carmen Diaz (Leila Benn Harris) gives a strong message about the abuse of drugs, their dangers and of the sometimes unscrupulous characters to be found working in show business.

You'll certainly be happily entertained for two and a half hours, and just when you think it's all over with the graduation ceremony - there's more.

That energy which exists throughout the show swells as the whole cast performs the title song Fame, with the arrival of a surprise visitor to the stage. Enjoy. Scores: 4/5


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