iris and tyrone

Jorgie Porter as Iris and Jamal Kane Crawford as Tyrone. Pictures: Tristam Kenton

Fame - The Musical

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre


Kids of the 1980s will remember fondly the Alan Parker film and, later, TV series about a group of New York performing arts students struggling their way through to graduation, who threw a dose of singing on the street and dancing on cars in for good measure.

The musical of the same name focuses on characters who might feel familiar but who are not the same, and their time in the early 80s at New York School of Performing Arts (P.A.).

They sing and dance through highs and lows, except none will be carried out on cars or in the streets - as they are warned as they arrive!

Technically tight with an ensemble cast who bring slick dance routines together with pitch-perfect singing.

Stephanie Rojas gives a stand-out performance as Carmen, a talented but troubled student whose story brings the cold reality of the worst of the entertainment industry to the fore. The friendship she receives from Schlomo is sensitively played by Simon Anthony.

Rojas carried her role off with a mix of street-smart and believable vulnerability to couple with powerful vocals.

Molly McGuire and Keith Jack play Serena and Nick, acting students perfecting their craft, showing off their stunning voices solo and together.

Jorgie Porter (Hollyoaks, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here) stars as dancer, Iris, with beautiful ballet routines. She partners well with Tyrone, a tough kid with a secret affecting his education, played convincingly by Jamal Kane Crawford.

While there is drama there are strong comedy moments, with Albey Brookes (Joe) and Hayley Johnston (Mable) leading the charge in terms of laughs alongside Louisa Beadel (Lambchops) and Alexander Zane (Goody).

Guiding the students are dance teacher Miss Bell (Katie Warsop), drama Mr Myers (Spencer Lee Osborne) and music Mr Scheinkopf (Duncan Smith) who all give memorable performances. While Josie Benson (Miss Sherman) brings the complex English teacher to life, delighting with the poignant These are my Children.  

The production has a simplistic but effective set of neon lights and year-book pictures – among which are cast headshots – while costumes go back to the 80s with leggings, legwarmers and leotards.

This show has an original score – book by Jose Fernadez, lyrics Jacques Levy, music Steve Margoshes – but audiences will love that the well-known TV and film theme song Fame (by Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore) appears before the bows.

Great for musical lovers, fans of Fame or those needing an up-beat escape, Fame lives not quite forever, but until Saturday, 23 November at Wolverhampton Grand.

Louise Grifferty


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