Wednesday, 15 February 2017

"Fame The Musical" by Musicality
Nottingham Arts Theatre.
It never fails to surprise me that these students can put on a show of this calibre in between all of the studies they have to do. Every year they do and it's all down to two little words that are echoed throughout this musical about graduating through the High School of Performing Arts. Those two words are "hard" and "work".
"Fame The Musical" provides an open look at the New York City’s High School of Performing Arts, where sweat and hard work are the key factors to a successful life as a performer. The plot follows a group of students across the acting, dancing and music faculties from 1980-1984 as they learn to master their craft and grow up alongside each other, rising to the various challenges that face them in school and in their personal lives.
Claire Wimbush plays Carmen Diaz, the fame hungry student with a drug addiction who falls for Schlomo, but her love for fame and the white stuff is stronger. Claire can dance, act and sing, a triple boon to any production. her singing voice highlighted well in numbers like "There She Goes", the emotion packed "In L.A." and the title track which brought the house down in the finale.
Jacob Lloyd, who I've seen several times in his roles on and off stage, plays Schlomo, the son of a renowned violinist, which he's trying to break away from, Schlomo, not Jacob. Instantly likeable character-driven role. Sclomo and Carmen perform a lovely duet in "Bring On Tomorrow" which is also sung at the end, creating a completely different twist to the words and the song, giving Jacob a chance to show the emotion in his voice.
Jake Gelernter is Nick Piazza, the serious drama student who appeared in a TV commercial once and wants to perform serious drama. Jake, like Nick is driven, I can say that with confidence as I've seen Jake act on several occasions, and in various roles which shows his versatility. He also has a fine singing voice as heard in two of my favourite songs from the show "Let's Play A Love Scene" and "I Want To Make Magic"
Emily Jayne-Dervey plays Nick's sparring partner, Serena Katz, who starts by having a bit of a crush on the character but soon gets to play Juliet to Nick's Romeo. A nice voice that compliments Jake's in their duet.
Bringing much of the humour to the musical is the "jock" Joe Jose Vegas, played by James Thacker. It takes a very confident actor to pull off this role and James has confidence oozing out of hi. He looked like he really enjoyed performing "Can't Keep It Down". He's also a bit of a mover as well.
Katie Monk plays the dancer with a love of food, Mabel Washington. Great enthusiasm shown throughout her song "Mabel's Prayer",
Sally Johnston shows plenty of attitude as the dancer Tyra Jackson. In some productions Tyra is Tyrone. Sally has great attitude, and you need that when you're rapping in "Tyra's Rap" and the wonderfully energetic "Dancing On The Sidewalk".
Maria Bennett is Tyra's ally, Iris Kelly. they say that opposites attract and this is the case here. Maria has lovely poise as the talented ballet dancer.
Nikki Fish is Grace Lamb, the female drummer of the band set up by Schlomo and Rhodri Denton plays the trumpeter in the band, Goodman King, both have some comic lines to bring to the play.
And then we have the teachers.....
Jess Lacey is wonderful as the English teacher Miss Sherman. Pushy but for all the right reasons to challenge her children to get the best education possible. Jess has a great voice for the theatre and she gets a couple of chances to prove this. The first in the duet with the dance teacher, Greta Bell, in the aptly titles piece "Teacher's Argument" and my favourite song from this musical "These Are My Children". This song in particular shows Jess's full range of her vocal talents.
Amy Foden, as Greta, shows great passion in her role, because Greta is a passionate person and a passionate teacher and Jess brings this out marvellously,Another talented singer to boot.
Thomas Outhwaite is the drama teacher, Mr Myers, bringing the ever so slightly campness to the stage without going over the top. Thomas gets the level spot on with this character.
Jack Linley plays the German music teacher, Mr Scheinkopf, who also has some wonderful snide little lines which you need to listen out for. Love the accent as well.
A very capable ensemble with some very talented dancers, which leads me on to the technical team.....
"Fame", despite the other subjects in school is primarily a dance driven show and doing a cracking job of the choreography is Alleisha Furlonge-Royal.With such a large cast of varying degrees of dance experience, Alleisha has done a brilliant job and instilled such energy into the show and the dancers.
The orchestra sounded wonderful and under the musical direction of Charlotte Mann.
Directed by Kate Shields and Matt Lewinton and produced by Hannah Kitching and Naomi Batley. These four have poured many hours into this production over the last six months or so but all that hard work has certainly paid off. You can see that by seeing the show,
A realistic and well utilised, multi levelled set, designed by Joanne Blunt and well thought out lighting design by Sam Osbourne and Hannah Burne and the Nottingham Arts Theatre.
Once again you have to applaud the time and effort given by everyone involved in "Fame" because these people are all full time students, and to stage a musical like this, and of this quality in the time given, is just brilliant. So much talent which I hope will be continued in future productions, even after graduation.
"Fame The Musical" is on at The Nottingham Arts Theatre until Saturday 18 February 2017. Tickets are from £9.00 - £12.50.

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