Fame Harrogate St Andrew's Players, Harrogate Theatre
In his introduction to the programme for Fame, Players' president John Hopkins says that one of the show's themes is that success needs not just a dream and ambition but also the application of hard graft. But, he adds, "the result can be magic".
If Tuesday night's performance of the 18-year-old musical is anything to go by, the members of St Andrew's Players certainly have the talent, the ambition and have clearly put the hard work Ð and they really have produced a magical result.
The story of Fame follows a group of students from audition through to graduation at New York's High School for the Performing Arts. Along the way, they learn valuable lessons in life, love and loss, with the teachers imparting more than mere facts to the students in their care.
The musical's creator, David de Silva, was fascinated by the energy and joie de vivre of the real-life New York school, and the Players definitely did him justice with their interpretation of the show. The dance routines were constantly accomplished, and at times almost breathtaking in their energy, while the scenes were well-paced and the dialogue flowed nicely.
The cast of over 30 performers included many of the Players' bright, young and extremely talented members. They were a fantastic support to the more experienced members, many of whom are still in their teens, and some of whom are already accomplished stage and screen stars.
All were a joy to watch, with stand-out performances from several of the speaking roles. Sixth former Luke Britton played randy Jose with relish, particular highlights being his appearance in tights for a performance of Romeo and Juliet and his song Ð definitely not for young ears Ð called I Can't Keep It Down.
Alex Darby and Alex Hogg were great together as friends / lovers Serena and Nick, giving fine performances of the beautiful Let's Play A Love Scene. Matt Dalingwater as Schlomo, the classically-trained musician with rock music in his heart, was also great, and was ably supported by Karen Boldison as drummer Lamb Chops and Nick Moulds as trumpeter Goody.
Jacqueline Hogg played fated Hispanic temptress Carmen with gusto, belting out with gusto some great numbers such as the eponymous Fame and the disillusioned In LA, complemented by some accomplished dance moves.
Susannah Miller and Rohan Pinnock-Hamilton worked convincingly both together and separately as goody-two-shoes ballet dancer Iris and Bronx-born Tyrone, with Pinnock-Hamilton equally adept at rapping, singing and dancing.
Final mention must go to another sixth former, Emma Swales, who was effortless as Mabel, a would-be dancer who just can't resist the lure of food.
Her rendition of Mabel's Prayer Ð an entreaty to the heavens above to help her fight her love of all things calorific Ð was very funny and absolutely fantastic.
If proof were needed as to the success of this performance, one needed only to hear the rapturous applause from the packed-out theatre at the end of the show as the cast members took a well-deserved final shimmy onto the stage.
The remaining performances of Fame run on the main stage at Harrogate Theatre tonight and tomorrow night at 7.30pm and also at 2.30pm tomorrow. For ticket availability, ring the theatre box office on Harrogate 502116.
The full cast of Fame: Pat Bell, Karen Boldison, Luke Britton, Matt Dalingwater, Alex Darby, Kelly-Ann French, Nick Moulds, Chris Cowling, Lisa Hensby, Alex Hogg, Jacqueline Hogg, Susannah Miller, Rohan Pinnock-Hamilton, Emma Swales, Lorna Creed, Emma French, Helen Hazlegrave, Robyn Howe, Aimee Johnson, Ashley Johnson, Emma Lindop, James Nelson, Hope Sellers, Lindsey Skeels, Shaun Stevenson, Janet Webster, Zoe Westwood and Melissa Wooler.
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