Fame started out a movie in the early 70's, the a t.v. series and now the fame high school is still working but with the new class, does it still do it justice? I believe it does. I saw Fame - the musical at the edinburgh playhouse and about to see it again in cheltenham in septemeber. The Cast strong singers, actors and dancers (hard to find in some shows this day) starts off slow with "i pray i make P.A.", p.a. being the school of performing arts. The bursts with energy when lampchops recieves a letter that she has been accepted, then from that time on until the end the energy never ceases! Every emotion is available in this musical from "I can't keep it down", i think you can guess what this is about if you have not saw it to songs like that haunting dialougue that schlomo quotes after hearing his girlfriend has overdosed herself. " This song (bring on tommorow) is written by a very talented student, Carmen - Are you listening carmen. We will always remember your name!" The charcters are very funny and some based on the t.v series for example schlomo is based on bruno the piano player. Then there is the actor nick and serena who have some amazing romatic songs considering she thinks he is gay. Then Joe the comedian of the year which seems to joke his way through the year while tyrone the dancer struggles through his education as he can't read and does not want any help! The only downside is I have saw this show many times both amatuer and proffesinal and there is two deaths scenes, one scene when carmen is killed by a train, (commited suicide) and you hear the train and you hear her scream which is hair standing on edge time which is amazing and really adds to the effect of schlomo words at the end but the other one is she takes an overdose and she does nothing! Sad, funny but very energetic and also spine-tingling if you get the train !
FAME is the all singing, all dancing story of the pupils of the New York school of performing arts. The musical follows one class of students right from their initial auditions to their graduation day. Before going to see the musical I had read the book of Fame, which was based on the original film. In fact, I had read it over and over again. I loved it and could not wait to see the musical in the flesh. Having now seen it, I felt a little bit disappointed. The names of characters had been changed, and storylines watered down. I realise this is necessary for a musical of two hours long but I felt some of the storylines were wrapped up too easily and it would have been more interesting to take them further. In the school, the pupils have to specialise in either music, dance, or acting. The dancing in the musical is a mixture of tap, ballet and modern. I enjoyed the dancing, especially the ballet, although some of the sequences seemed a bit repetitive. That may just be my untrained eye though! The dancing was very energetic and I especially enjoyed the dance at the "freshman end of year show" where the performers tapped out rhythms with their feet. Some of the dances are quite raunchy too (which I enjoyed, but you may not want your little kids to copy at home!) The music was very loud (the woman next to me kept putting her fingers in her ears!) and the singing abilities varied. Pili Lopez, who played Carmen (Coco in the film version) had a very powerful voice which unfortunately hurt the ears somewhat when she hit the high notes. Most of the male performers had pleasant voices, and in my opinion, frustrated dancer Mabel (played by Mazz Murray-"Lisa" in the film) and tough English teacher Mrs. Sherman (played by Rebecca Wheatley) had the best voices. The songs were a mixture of individual and group pieces. The one everyone will know is "Fame, I wanna live forever", but there are many other equally enj
oyable songs such as "I wanna make magic", "These are my children" and "Give me a Sign". I enjoyed most of the songs but found some of them went on a bit long without actually moving the plot along and my attention wandered at these times. The acting was very good, especially George Clayton as "Latino Love God" Jose Vegas, who was very funny and suitably sleazy. Mrs Sherman, the pushy teacher who is passionate about giving her pupils something to fall back on showed her hard and softer sides in an excellent performance. Tee Jaye, as rebellious ladies man Tyrone Jackson was very good at grinding his hips at the girls and got a few screams at the end! The frustrated dancer Mabel got the loudest cheer of the night when says she doesn't need to lose weight as she is going to play character parts. The audiences sympathies were certainly with her as she struggled with her weight and her co-ordination in the dance classes. The set was quite simple, with two levels and retracting staircases on either side of the stage leading up to a balcony. In the dance sequences the two levels were used to good effect, with dancers on the stairs, the main stage, and the upper balcony. The costumes were all bright and tight, with lots of flesh on show! I loved the tutu that Iris, the talented ballerina wore. The costumes were realistic and what you would expect from performing arts students and brightened up the colourless set. As the school is in New York, all the actors had American accents, which I found quite annoying (but then I do not really like American accents anyway) and some were quite "whiney". There were lots of children in the audience who all seemed to enjoy the show, although they must have missed the quite frequent sexual references that had me chuckling away. I felt that some of the aspects of the book had been tamed down somewhat, but Fame tackles some difficu
lt issues at the same time as being a generally lighthearted, humourous musical. If you go along expecting deep storylines then you may be disappointed, but if you go to see Fame with an open mind, you will enjoy the huge abundance of energy and optimistic feel about it. You will definitely leave feeling good and probably inspired to go and do some sit ups after seeing so many super fit bodies on show! Fame is at the Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, London. You can find out more about times and ticket prices at www.famethemusical.co.uk The Cambridge theatre is near to Covent Garden and is a traditional proscenium arch theatre. The view from the upper circle is quite restricted so I suggest paying a bit more for better seats. There are binoculars available to hire for 40p if you need them, as well as programmes and T shirts (cash in alert!!). P.S. To Glenn, the car was not an inflatable one, thank goodness, it was a real one!
Fame- The Musical has been hanging around the West End in various forms for about 6 years now. The film and TV series bring back such fond memories for me, that I - like loads of other theatre goers decided to re-live a bit of my youth and see if Fame really could live forever. I did not don the leg warmers or the string vest but in my head I was going back to a real hey day of dancing on tables and finding out where you could "start paying in sweat!" The theatre was buzzing. Everyone had songs in their head from the TV show that they wanted to hear. I had come to hear Starmaker and High Fidelity. These corny songs were great back in the 80's! The Kids From Fame even went out and toured- the show was that big! So expectations in the theatre foyer were high for this stage production. Sweets stopped rattling and the atmosphere in the stalls was amazing. Everyone was on the edge of leg warmers waiting.. As the curtain rose and the first bit of dialogue was uttered- a thought hit me- "Where was I?!!" The characters did not share the same names that I remembered from old! A character looked like Leroy but was not called Leroy! I sat in my chair, squirming slightly. But after paying £35 you have to sit back and think - "well if the songs are good- I can live with it!" The first song was performed and I could not recognise it. Maybe the Kids From Fame sang it when I was having a bath or playing with my Rubik's Cube! But I never missed an episode! Calm down Glenn, it will get better! The next song appeared- a big storming number- could it be "Starmaker?" I sat fingers crossed, legs crossed praying for Fame from old! But all of this was to no avail because the only original song in the production is Fame and that is saved until the end. The story is very much the same but maybe because it is now in the theatre it all seemed to be handled really clumsily. The Leroy character (sorry but I cannot give
these evergreen characters their new names without thinking of the £35 I shelled out!) cannot read or write. This could have been moving. But the script just doesn't allow for any emotion to flow. The character writes on the blackboard: "I can't read!" The audience would have been wiping the tears from their eyes if this scene was handled well. But all I could hear was sniggering! His teacher sings a song entitled "These Are My Children" which should have been a storming show stopper but unfortunately the cliches are a plenty and again this number produced sniggers right throughout the stalls. The dancing must have been good though eh? That must have lifted the show? Well, no- not really. The writers should be sued as this musical is apparently set in a performing arts school yet no-one in the cast can really dance compared with other musicals I have seen. Again, it all seemed clumsy. People leap about quite alot but if you are expecting the cast to dance on restaurant tables leaving you with with a spring in your step then I'm sorry but this doesn't happen. What about comedy? Well, there was one funny moment. Unintentional, mind you! At the end of Fame, the famous- "Fame... I'm gonna live forever" is included! (thank the lord!) But it did give me and the audience more comedy value than in the original. The set was so cheap looking that the cars were inflatable! So there is Cocoa (again different name which escapes me!) dancing around these wobbling inflatable cars! I was in hysterics. But I think that I was also laughing because it was my Birthday, I'd had a terrible evening and hysteria had set in! Also I think the whole number bought back memories of "It's A Knockout" with those clumsy giants! If you want to re-live the heady days Debbie Allen, Irene Cara and the other kids from Fame, please don't waste your money on this. The only thing that this musical shares
with the film and the TV show is the name- FAME. That's it! I hope that this musical doesn't live forever although it certainly looks that way. If it's real nostalgia you're after then I would settle for a bottle of Tizer followed by a game of Twister to the soundtrack of a dusty old 78 of Fame rather than shelling out alot of money to see this cheap cash in. Venue: Cambridge Theatre Booking: www.ticketmaster.co.uk Info: www.whatsonstage.com Official Website: www.famethemusical.co.uk REVIEWS "The new tunes, written by Jacques Levy and Steve Margoshes, are distinctly bottom drawer." Whatsonstage.com "The Feelgood triumph." The Mail On Sunday MORE INFO: FAME: THE MUSICAL Cambridge Theatre Earlham Street London WC2H 9HH Box Office 0207 494 5080 Opened 20 September at this theatre Monday - Thursday 7.30pm Fridays 5.30pm & 8.30pm Saturdays 3pm and 7.30pm Tickets from £12.50 - £35