Fame the Musical in Sydney
By Warren Moore
The new production of Fame the Musical at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre shows that Timomatic is truly one of the best talents to emerge in Australia over the last couple of years.
He really steals the show in his role of Tyrone Jackson (Leroy as it was in the original Fame movie) and although he only finished eighth in the 2009 series of So You Think You Can Dance Australia this production provides a vehicle to show his full range of skills including singing and acting.
Fame the Musical is in Sydney after a successful run in Melbourne and I was lucky enough to go to the opening night on October 14.
The show is a great night out and highly enjoyable with a strong cast of thirty onstage, including 25 very talented younger performers who play the students of The Fame School in New York. This incarnation of the successful franchise is set in 1983, four years after the movie version and during the last year of the school in its original landmark building. The school transferred in 1984 to a new purpose built complex in the Lincoln Center on Manhattan’s Westside.
The stage version was written a decade ago and interestingly only includes one song from the original movie version, the title number. While the original compositions are great, it was disappointing not to see and hear one of my other favourites from the movie, Out Here On My Own.
The five cast members who play the teachers of the school are adequate, but are overwhelmed by the students, both in performance and by default because of the nature of the story. Andrew McFarlane, well known on Australian television, also directed the production while veteran Australian performer Brian Wenzel (from A Country Practice fame) is the poorest performance of the show.
The depth of talent amongst this number of cast in acting, singing and dancing is truly impressive, but as I’ve mentioned, Timomatic truly steals the show. The winner of the same series of So You Think You Can Dance, Talia Fowler, also stars in the production. She is a gorgeous young woman who’s classical performances add to the diversity of the show, however when it comes to all-round performance skills she does not match the rest of the student cast.
The other member of the ensemble worthy of special mention is Rowena Vitar who plays Cameron Diaz – a sort of combination of Irene Cara’s Coco and another role from the original movie. It is Rowena who is the lead in the renditions of Fame and is strong while undertaking the difficult task of performing vocally demanding songs and dance routines simultaneously.
The set and staging of the show are up to par but do lack diversity for the length of the show and it is a long show, 2 ½ hours plus interval. If anything the show could benefit from being slightly shorter and lacks a big enough production number leading into interval. The finale is a great production number featuring the song (you guess it!) Fame.
The Capitol has new production on very early in 2011, so this will be a limited season and Fame the Musical is well and truly worth seeing!
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