10-15 March 2014
Reviewed by Amy Jones
Fame the Musical was brought to life tonight at the Sunderland Empire! Many of you will remember Fame from the 1980s classic, well tonight that 1980s classic was brought right up to date in the production by Bill Kenwright and developed by David De Silva. Fans of the original will notice the subtle reference changes – I’m pretty sure Rhianna wasn’t even born when the original Fame was released!
The story of Fame is based in a New York performing arts school and follows a group of youngsters trying to make it big in show business. It follows their hopes, dreams, aspirations and downfalls. The overall theme of this show is that talent will only get you so far in this ruthless industry, and to elevate yourself above the rest you need to work hard – which as the catch line says, is the price of fame.
The character of Carmen is a fascinating one – where her need for fast and easy fame ultimately costs her. Jodie Steele, who plays Carmen in this production was fantastic, her voice is powerful and fills the room with ease. Her styling and costume changes all add to this.
Another key character that the audience feel invested in is that of Tyrone Jackson. His story is one of struggle. He is a talented dancer, who has the potential to make it in show business, with teacher’s bending over backwards to try and help him. However, because of his attitude – taking shortcuts instead of applying himself to academic studies sees him turning on those who believe in him and failing in school. Alex Thomas, who played Tyrone is definitely the best actor and dancer in this production. His portrayal is extremely convincing and his dancing is impeccable. It really was fantastic to watch!
The sets is somewhat limited and mainly changes between two areas, the dance studio and the school ‘lockers’, whilst the set is well designed and used effectively I did feel, at times, like I wanted to see more of a change. The lighting used in act 2 adds a dramatic touch to the storylines that are being played out. Another good thing about this production was the band, who are very much part of this show, are raised above and ground where the majority of dancing takes place. This really makes the show different than other’s I have seen and a great use of staging.
Overall, this production of fame was well worth a watch, by the end you can help but jump up and dance as the entire cast are signing their final song. A brilliant night out and highly recommended.
Tickets cost from £12.90 to £41.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
For more information or to book tickets click here.