17-22 March 2014
Reviewed by Pamela Wright
Tonight I have been to the Grand Opera House in York, (this is one of my favourite theatres to visit as the staff are always friendly and polite, plus it has the bonus of being a very short walk from a very reasonably priced carpark), with my friend to watch Fame: The Musical. I watched the film many years ago so was looking forward to seeing what the stage musical version would be like. We got there just a couple of minutes before the show was about to start so most people were seated.
The show started with a cheeky American voice-over asking us to turn our phones off. The band’s guitarist appeared under spotlight at the top of the stage as the well-known Fame theme tune blasted out, as the song went on the rest of the band were lit up. They were an amazing band and it was really nice to see them on the top section of the stage through the whole performance rather than hidden away backstage like in other musicals.
Once the theme tune finished, some of the cast appeared below them on stage and opened the show with “Pray I Make” – you could see straight away that the show had been pulled into the 21st century as they all had their mobile phones/ipads/iphones/tablets etc… (this got quite a few giggles.
In the first half we were treated to a comical although slightly rude solo by the sex obsessed Joe Vegas (played by Joseph Giacone), this was hilarious and in a few places slightly predictable but had lots of people laughing in the audience.
The Teacher’s Argument was towards the end of the first half and sang by Miss Bell (Hermoine Lynch) and Miss Sherman (Landi Oshinowo) – this was a really powerful song which I didn’t expect with them playing the role of the teachers.
The stage wasn’t over dramatic and was made up of 2 stage blocks with different scenes on them which were moved around by the cast during the performance and they cleverly used the special effects and lighting to reflect the scenes.
The show was entertaining throughout with lots of different styles of dancing/singing and costume changes, but I have to take my hat off to Alex Thomas who played Tyrone, he really stood out all the way through, he performed ballet dancing to gangster rapping and street dancing. My favourite scene was “Dancin’ on the Sidewalk” which was so upbeat with punchy music and amazing dancing it reminded me slightly of “Diversity”.
The show was finished off by a very loud, enthusiastic and energetic version of Fame which had lots of the audience stood up clapping and singing along.
This is a must see show, it’s a brilliant trip down memory lane for those that remember the original movie but has been dragged into the 21st century with the clever use of today’s technology and dance styles to entertain the younger fans of dance.
I would definitely go and see this again.
Tickets cost from £17.90 to £41.40 (plus £4 transaction fee).
For more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/york.