REVIEW: Stunning dance routines, incredible vocal performances and quick-witted humour make Fame the Musical shine on Cambridge Arts Theatre stage
- Credit: Archant
Fizzing with energy, there’s never a dull moment in Fame The Musical, which is lighting up the Cambridge Arts Theatre this week.
An all-singing, all-dancing show, Sell A Door Productions brings New York’s High School for the Performing Arts to life with infectious songs, faultlessly choreographed dance routines and plenty of humour. At times there’s so much going on that the audience doesn’t know where to look - but that’s no bad thing in a show as lively as this.
Although the action is set in the 1980s, there are plenty of modern touches: this endlessly energetic, fast-paced production puts High School Musical to shame. Musical director Tim Whiting ensures the songs drive the narrative, which follows a group of performing arts students who dream of seeing their names in lights, as they put in the hard work in each of their classes, eager to impress their hard-to-please teachers.
In terms of talent, there’s bucketloads on stage: as well as being brilliant actors - each of the characters are well-developed with their own individual personalities, back stories, dreams and ambitions - the cast are equally impressive dancers and musicians.
R&B singer Mica Paris is brilliant as Miss Sherman, a tough headteacher who wants the best for her ‘family’ of students (even if that means she has to give them tough love); she also blows everyone away with her outstanding voice during a showstopping solo performance.
Model and actress Jorgie Porter, who has been on TV in Hollyoaks and Dancing On Ice, proves her talent as a ballet dancer as well as an actress as Iris.
But it’s not just the big names who impress with their performances: Jamal Crawford is great as confident dancer Tyrone, who is held back from what he could achieve due to his academic skills; Morgan Jackson is hilarious as the class clown who has the audience in stitches with his adolescent humour; Stephanie Rojas steps into the roll of wannabe popstar Carmen with ease (and showcases her own incredible vocal skills).
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Then there are the teachers: Cameron Johnson is great as drama teacher Mr Myers, who encourages the students to channel their emotions, and Graham Hoadly gets a lot of laughs as traditional German music teacher Mr Schienkopf.
If the first half was all fun and games the second act takes a darker, more emotional turn - some scenes are a real gut punch that leave a lump in your throat, with underlying messages about the importance of not giving up on your dreams and the dangers of the darker side of fame.
But that doesn’t mean a feel-good sing-along is forgotten about, especially for #InternationalDanceDay as the entire cast come together for one unforgettable finale that gets the entire room on their feet clapping, singing and dancing.
Fame The Musical is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday May 4.
For tickets, dates and performance times visit www.cambridgeartstheatre.com/whats-on/fame or call the box office on 01223 503333.