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BWW Review: FAME: THE MUSICAL at Crown Theatre
All WA production showcases a swag of local talent


by David Bravos
Apr. 18, 2022

Based on the hit 1980 film and the television series it spawned, FAME: THE MUSICAL has burst into Crown Theatre to tell the story of a group of aspiring performers. This production bills itself as being by Western Australians, for Western Australians, and in doing so shows that WA is indeed home to many talented performers and creatives.

In the lead role of Carmen is Rechelle Mansour. Mansour last performed at the Sydney Opera House and is certainly one right at home on any big stage. Her stage presence and vocals are phenomenal, and her role as the confident but troubled Carmen demands attention. G. Madison IV moved to Perth only recently, yet his performance

as Tyrone show that he has settled wonderfully. Madison is a true triple threat, and all his talents were on show here. He has an irresistible persona and yet played the vulnerable character perfectly. Opposite Madison was Taylah Small as Iris. Small has a resume that would make any ballerina jealous, but she well and truly fits a leading musical theatre role. She illustrated Iris' character- a talented performer with a deep secret- wonderfully whilst singing perfectly and- perhaps unsurprisingly- dancing flawlessly.

 

The world-renowned Lucy Williamson plays Miss Sherman, the domineering but sensitive English teacher. It is a treat to see Williamson in any role, and she glides effortlessly between strict and soft as Miss Sherman becomes a greater part of the life of the students. As dance teacher Ms Bell is Mia Simonette, whose brightness and vivacity suit the role perfectly. Multi-talented Manuao Teatonga plays Mr Myers, and whilst Teatonga might be known for characters leaning more towards outrageous, his performance as the wise drama teacher is a standout. Igor Sas plays the old-fashioned music teacher Mr Sheinkopf in a small but impactful role.

James Bell was an entertaining Joe Vegas in an over-the-top role that brought plenty of laughs, Isaac Diamond was the focused and talented Nick Piazza, and Ethan Churchill showed his depth as Goody. Churchill continues to get big roles and it's not hard to see why. In another performance that adds depth was Greg Jarema as Schlomo, a shy musician burdened by the weight of his surname. It seems that every single role Jarema takes on is quite different from the last and yet he plays each role perfectly, with this being no exception with a performance that does plenty to add to the feeling and emotion of the show. Elaina O'Connor also showed off her talent with an excellent performance as the reserved and lovelorn Serena. Paige Fallu made an excellent Mabel, with the narrative of talent derailed by self-image striking a chord with many of the audience, whilst Shanice-Kaline Thompson was a sharp and entertaining Lambchops.

FAME is put on as a big show through and through, and that much is evident not just in the size of the ensemble, but the talent in it. There are several huge dance numbers (put together excellently by choreographer Dani Papa who absolutely shines on big stages) that are impossible to take your eyes away from, and the number and quality of spectacular dance sequences something to see in itself. I was lucky enough to see the auditions for FAME (which you can read about in my feature), and the hard work the ensemble and choreographer has put in since then is quite evident. Director Adam Mitchell made sure every part of the show came together perfectly, and musical director Harry Oliff was excellent. The band is housed visibly on stage which in itself adds another part to the show. Bryan Woltjen's fantastic set is something of note, too, with only minor changes and movements needed to fully transform the scenes within the show and make each different setting feel genuine.

With so many talented creatives showing off their work, there is plenty to love about FAME, and singing, dancing, music and acting all of which would be worth seeing if they were standalone. All of it coming together into a big, bright, and entertaining production means that FAME should not be missed.

 

 

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