fame cast


Stage Experience 2022

The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham


The `Experience’ concept at the Alexandra Theatre, started back in 2003, brought to the region by director Pollyann Tanner. It gives young people from across the Midlands the rare opportunity to work on a professional production, guided by industry professionals.

It’s a unique chance for anyone interested in theatre or studying for performing arts to take to the stage of one of the country’s leading theatres and be part of a real production.

Many of the past participants have gone onto successfully working in the industry, either on stage or in a technical capacity. There is a sweet irony in this year’s `experience ‘with the choice of Fame, a story of a performing Arts school in New York.

Fame all began with the feature film in 1980, which then spawned the hit TV series of the same name in 1982, running for 136 episodes before progressing into a stage musical in 1987. The story centres on a group of talented individuals with a love of music, dance and performance exactly like the cast of an `experience’ production.

While the film and TV versions added a lot of the back story of the characters’ lives, the musical takes place very much within the school walls. The style of production gives many of the cast a central solo point to shine and although for some of them their involvement was for the first time this year, many of the performers showed experience beyond their years.

First timer Mason Daw played Nick Piazza and did fine job in his role. A stand out performance came from Freya Hancox as Serena taking on several complex songs with a powerful musical theatre voice. Laura Byran as Carmen is already in training and showed off an impressive array of dancing, acting and singing skills. Another ` Experience’ first timer Louis Goode played the over confident Joe with a great deal of swagger and comic timing. Bradley Mutizwa was Tyrone and did a great job considering he has appeared in very little but school plays. 

Although Molly Anne Bache works now full time as a nurse, she added a more adult tier to the production as Miss Sherman along with Molly Hopkins as Ms Bell and both proved they can sing and act. Cree Henson was Scholmo and although only given a few moments to solo, proved he has a great voice.

dance pic

Within the lead players group, fine support too came from Nathan Wong, Jasmine Gill, Michael Pegg and William Dodd. Eva Derbyshire as Grace surprised the audience with some dynamic dance moves.

Emily Violet Haywood was the dance captain and led the entire cast in some very ambitious and well executed routines. There were 46 other fantastic young individuals pouring their heart out into this very sharp production. That enthusiasm spilled over into the audience when many of them took to the isles to dance and sing in the finale number.

The production is a massive undertaking by Director and Choreographer Pollyann Tanner and Producer Becky Peers, in successfully creating and guiding this young, raw company into a very slick performance.  With Musical Direction from Chris Newton and the technicals being handled by Alex Johnson, the entire team have brought a high degree of quality to this well polished show that showcases young Midlands Talent.

So, don’t be put off by the thought of the casts lack of experience, this is a quality production that deserves local support and proved by the talent here on show, that the `experience’ is a rich breeding ground for Fame. To 27-08-22.

Jeff Grant


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