REVIEW: Fame at Cambridge Arts Theatre is a theatrical triumph with super-charged singing and whirlwind dancing
30 April 2019, Angela Singer
Stephanie Rojas, who plays a heart-breaking Carmen, called for the audience to “stand up for the cast of Fame”.
Fame is the hardest West End show to audition for. Everyone has to be a triple threat, you need to sing, act and dance, and in this production they do all three wonderfully and the cast play instruments superbly too.
At the end, Stephanie Rojas, who plays a heart-breaking Carmen, called for the audience to “stand up for the cast of Fame”.
A packed Cambridge Arts Theatre rose up in one breath, clapping and swaying to the irresistable theme tune.
We were going to live forever, people would see us and die.
The musical, now celebrating its 30th anniversary and based on the 1980 film about a freshers year at New York's Performing Arts Academy, is set faithfully in the 1980s. The sexism in the opening scenes has you wincing.
There are not many memorable tunes. Only one really. But that does not detract from the feel-goodness of the show.
All the singing is powerful. Vituosos, Mica Paris as principal teacher Miss Sherman had every spine tingling when she sang These are My children about how her pupils, had chosen her.
Stephanie Rojas's soul-wrenching song about Carmen's disillusion with LA (In LA) deserved its own round of whoops and applause.
I had my hands ready but the action moved on too quickly to celebrate her as she left the stage.
The energetic and precision performances here are exemplary, the whirlwind dancing, full of zip and verve is joyous and a joy to see. The accomplished acting and the super-charged singing lifts the heart.
Ever-smiling, Jamal Kane Crawford got roars from the crowd as the dancer Tyrone. There is strength from everyone, particularly Katie Warsop as Miss Bell, Molly McGuire as actress Serena and and Louisa Beadel as the music student, Lambchops also playing drums and saxophone.
Plaudits too, to Keith Jack as Nick, Simon Anthony as musician Schlomo and Jorgie Porter as dancer Iris - plus actor-musicians, Tom Mussell and Alexander Zane on trumpet and sax .
Mica Paris's Miss Sherman tells us at the start of the show that 4,000 people audition for New York's Performing Arts Academy. Only 97 get in she says and she reminds Miss Bell that only 10 per cent of students will actually earn a living in “the business”.
Wanting to perform is the triumph of hope over experience but this show is a triumph.
Fame is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, May 4.
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