Fame at Leicester’s Haymarket Theatre

Selladoor Productions have brought Fame the Musical to Leicester’s Haymarket this week. It is open until Saturday 26th October and tickets are already limited for the performances on Friday and Saturday so head to the Haymarket website to book your tickets before it’s too late!

I was invited along to see the show last night, and I’ll be honest that I didn’t really know what to expect. I can’t really remember having ever seen the original film from 1980, but of course I know the theme tune because it was played relentlessly at every party and disco of my childhood.

Remember my name

The new intake of the New York High School for the Performing Arts experience the highs and lows of stage school, coupled with the familiar angsts of teenage life. I thought that a number of complex themes were sensitively treated, including identity and prejudice, aspiration and education. However, one of the key themes, substance abuse, was pivotal to the narrative of the show but actually felt extremely peripheral in the telling.

I was very pleased to enjoy the show. In particular the strength lies in the quality of the dancers and musicians in the company, in my opinion. Right from the off, the energetic performers jump into a dazzling high energy routine. Fast changeovers and creative use of staging makes for an engaging and absorbing performance. Literally dazzling in some cases as the lights occasionally shine out incredibly brightly on to the audience.

Tyrone and Iris, Fame the Musical
A scene from Fame The Musical Tour @ Palace Theatre, Manchester. Director and Choreographer Nick Winston. ©Tristram Kenton

Stand out performers

For me, the interplay of Tyrone and Iris were the standout performances. Jamal Kane Crawford is commanding and flexible in his portrayal of a complex and multi-faceted character. Meanwhile his onstage partner Jorgie Porter creates an engaging duo and a love story that cannot be ignored. The pair’s ballet renditions through the show were definitely my highlights. I am no expert, but I thought each had superb form and the most precise execution. Beautiful.

A standing ovation too for Josie Benson’s portrayal of Miss Sherman. Again a very well presented rendition of a complex character but also the absolute top vocal performance of the evening. The woman has incredible raw power in her voice which is stirring in the extreme. Worth buying a ticket to the show just to see her solo.

Sadly, the performance of key role Carmen was my least favourite part of the performance. Sad to say the young actress needs to polish her American accent and her delivery of the show’s title track in my honest opinion. This slightly lacklustre performance did not tarnish my overall enjoyment of the show though. I would encourage you to pay special note to the dancing skill in the ensemble. You will really be wowed.

I’m gonna live forever

Fame the Musical
A scene from Fame The Musical Tour @ Palace Theatre, Manchester. Director and Choreographer Nick Winston ©Tristram Kenton

Loud, brash and bold, this is a great piece of entertainment. Not quite standing ovation territory for me, but it was for the rest of the audience!

Thank you to the Haymarket Theatre for gifting me complimentary tickets for the purposes of review. My opinions remain an honest reflection of my experience.

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