REVIEW: Fame - the Musical gets the audience on their feet at the Bristol Hippodrome

Fame - the Musical. Picture by Hugo Glendinning

Fame - the Musical. Picture by Hugo Glendinning

First published in News
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Stroud News and Journal: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

IF Fame costs and the price of it is paid in hard work and sweat then it’s fair to say the entire cast of Fame – the Musical are going to be huge stars.

From the moment the curtain went up to the final round of applause the energy remained and it was electric – a current which flowed from every actor, dancer and singer through to every member of the audience at opening night at the Bristol Hippodrome.

My surprise was not that the show was so good – but that everyone on stage could dance, sing and act as well as each other.

The drama students were fabulous singers, the dancers gave some of the most tear-jerking scenes and the music students were brilliant dancers.

In a cast filled with talent it’s hard to attribute one performer as the show stopper – however credit must be given to Jodie Steele who played troubled dance student Carmen Diaz.

Her harrowing performance of a dancer from the wrong side of the tracks who would do anything for fame – which included popping diet pills to stay skinny and dropping out of the Performing Arts Academy to follow a questionable talent scout to LA – was one of the highlights.

Joseph Giaccone as aspiring comedian Joe Vegas and Molly Stewart as a plus-size dancer who struggles with her weight – delivered two of the best numbers of the night.

Stewart’s gospel number, 'Mabel's Prayer', is a genuine show-stopper and Vegas’ comedy number ‘Can’t Keep it Down’ had the audience genuinely laughing.

However it was Gary Lloyd’s choreography set against the backdrop of a 21st Century New York – rather than the 1980s version we’re used to – which really stole the show.

From the classical ballet sequences to the ones that have been given a modern twist, to the street dance numbers and the flamenco-infused Junior Festival segment – everything was done with precision which made you wonder how hard these young stars had to work before opening night of the show.

The updated version of the musical may continue to point out the harsh realities of quick-fix notoriety, but what truly take things up to date are the substitution of leg-warmers for mobile phones, references to latter-day celebs and a rap song performed by dyslexic student Tyrone Jackson played by Alex Thomas.

It was all set to a soundtrack mixed with some of the old classics as well as a host of new numbers all accompanied by a rather funky live band, who were perched high above the actors.

The audience was even treated to an extra performance of Irene Cara’s classic at the very end reminding them that a song, dance, or a performance can live forever in the minds of musical lovers.

Fame – the Musical will be at the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday, May 31.

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