Thursday 28th May

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Fame at the New Wimbledon Theatre

| Dance, Theatre | 28/02/2014

Will you remember their names?

Having never seen David De Silva’s original Oscar-winning film, I sat down at the New Wimbledon Theatre nervously, wondering whether I was about to watch a live version of Glee in legwarmers. As Fame – The Musical began, I realised I was right, only there were no legwarmers.

Gary Lloyd has modernised the story, setting it in present day New York. The school is still the same, the characters are still based on the originals, except the students of the PA School in New York now carry around mobile phones and iPads.

I’ll hand it to the entire cast, their enthusiasm and energy are both top notch. The mix of choreography throughout the show was cleverly designed and all variations of dance were well written into each scene. One to watch for this is Alex Thomas, who impressed the audience with his dancing ability throughout, which was useful as his singing and acting was nothing short of flat and wooden.

Molly Stewart is clearly a rising star, belting out a gospel vocal for ‘Mable’s Prayer’. I would expect to see more of her in the years to follow.

The outstanding performance of the night came from Jodie Steele as Carmen Diaz (no, not her from Charlie’s Angels). Her final solo performance in Act Two showed the range of her vocal talent and an array of emotions.

Additionally, Joseph Giacone and Molly Stewart both stood out for me, in their roles as Joe Vegas and Mabel Washington respectively. They certainly brought some comedic relief to a show which touched upon some otherwise serious subjects.

The only thing about Fame, is the obviousness of which actors were hired for their singing or dancing. For example, Sarah Harlington has a beautiful voice as Serena Katz, a very Rachel Berry-esqe type character, but struggled to keep up with the dance numbers.

The backdrop of Times Square was a welcome touch, although occasionally the set would move around very quickly, which sometimes felt unnecessary and distracting.

Overall, I enjoyed the show. Even though I didn’t find any of the romantic pairings believable, I sometimes found it hard to understand some of the fast lyrics and the stage looked a mess at times, if I was simply attending the show, and not reviewing it, I doubt I would have paid attention to such detail, as the fun of the show was distracting enough to tide me over the two acts. But honestly, Fame is worth going to see for the dance routines alone, Gary Lloyd certainly exceeded my expectations, and although it was slightly ‘Gleeky’ at times, the show closed on a high, with the entire audience on their feet.

Fame – The Musical is at New Wimbledon Theatre until March 1st, before embarking on a national UK tour. You can purchase tickets here;

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