The Show Must Go On YouTube channel makes a timely return to bring some theatre back into our lives. This week’s offering is Fame the Musical, the 30th anniversary production filmed at the Phoenix Theatre in London last year.
Fame the Musical is based on the 1980’s film of the same name. It follows a group of students through their time at the School of Performing Arts in New York from their first day to their graduation.
Many issues are briefly portrayed in this show, illiteracy, drug abuse, sexuality, weight worries, prejudice and the need to succeed. Cramming all of this into a small space means that each subject is merely touched upon. This keeps the pace up but at times makes the story feels disjointed. What the story lacks in cohesion the cast make up for in energy.
The cast members, as would be expected, sing, dance and play instruments while giving their all to show their character and put across their story. The emotions are heartfelt and powerful, bringing joy and sadness. The dancing is polished and energetic with the choreography taking its influence from the 80’s. Memorable moments are the Spanish dance in the Junior festival and “Dancin’ on the sidewalk” which includes desks moving under the propulsion of the dancers sat at them.
Although the songs are not memorable, the singers pour their heart and soul into them, and the vocals soar.
Staging is simple yet striking, a background of illuminated yearbook photographs changing colour to set the mood. The performance area then changes seamlessly from changing room to classroom to New York street in the blink of an eye achieved with a piece of minimal symbolic set.
This is definitely not a family show, there are plenty of sexual and drug references. If you were a fan of the film you probably know what to expect. Having said that you don’t need to have any previous knowledge to enjoy the performances here. You have until Sunday to catch this energetic and powerful musical.
Reviewer: Annette Nuttall
Reviewed: 25th September 2020
North West End UK Rating: ★★★