by Julie Wallis twitter.com/NiceNic63
Fame at The Alexandra, Birmingham
Fame has burst into the stage at The Alexandra this week. This high energy, all singing, all dancing, all thriller, no filler show is still as relevant today as it was in the 1980s.
Set in the New York School for Performing Arts during the early 1980s, Fame tells the story of the students as they spend four years polishing their skills in music, dance and drama. Although it could just as easily be called Pride and Prejudice, as the students find out as much about themselves as they find out about each other. It’s not all happily ever after either, predominantly upbeat but tinged with some of the harsher realities of life, Fame made me forget I was in Birmingham on a chilly and damp November night, as I was transported to New York.
I loved this performance but can I just say a couple of issues I did have were, there is no Bruno and his piano and there is no dancing on cars whilst dancing in the streets (Both features of the film. Other than that, Fame is succeeding in wanting to live forever. The show opens to the immortal words “You want fame? Well, Fame costs, and right here is where you start paying …….in sweat”
Fame has a stellar cast too. With Jorgie Porter (Hollyoaks) as serious but talented ballet dancer Iris, it was nice to see that Miss Porter is herself a talented dancer. Looking every inch the prima ballerina in her dance scenes, and there are plenty of dance scenes too, her class mates think she is posh because she arrives for school in a limousine everyday.
Jamal Crawford as Tyrone, the equally gifted dancer, but too proud to seek help with his dyslexia, will he really risk losing his place as the prestigious New York school for performing arts rather than ask for help. Jamal plays the part of Tyrone beautifully with a perfect balance of tender and tough, he is also another incredibly talented dancer.
Stephanie Rojas as Carmen gives a heart moving rendition of the girl who wants fame more than anything. Albey Brookes brings Joe to life with wit and a gentle brashness that makes him endearing and cheeky in equal measures. There are a lot more characters, Schlomo (Simon Anthony), Mabel (Hayley Johnston), Serena (Molly McGuire) and Nick (Keith Jack) to name but a few, obviously I don’t want dismiss any of them, but I do have a word count to stick to.
Cameron Johnson as Mr. Myers and Mica Paris as Miss. Sherman are caring teachers that encourage their students to be the very best version of themselves and when Mica Paris belts out her solo number I felt the hairs on my arm stand up, such was the power and the passion in her gorgeous singing. Miss Paris certainly has an admirable set of pipes!
Fame has got a lot of original music but we did also get to enjoy the theme song that was a smash hit almost 40 years ago. Add fantastic choreography and it’s easy to see why this vibrant show is still a huge success.
The set is deceptively simple, being predominantly a wall of illuminated yearbook photos. Some clever lighting, a balcony and somehow the stage goes from classroom to grim back streets effortlessly.
So dust off your old leg warmers and come and join the cast of Fame as they leap and pirouette their way through the best years of their life.
See Fame until Saturday 24th November at The Alexandra Birmingham. Book tickets here: atgtickets.com/venues/alexandra-theatre-birmingham
This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to see Fame by The Alexandra.
When not blogging theatre for #BrumHour, Julie Wallis can be found on her own blog at redandgoldweb.wordpress.com