Presented by Marie Clark Musical Theatre Company
Reviewed 23 October 2015
This classic 80’s musical follows the lives of young students working their way towards fame at the prestigious New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts, and the struggles they face in both their studies and relationships.
This is a fantastic directorial debut for Chris Daniels, as is evident in the effort and creativity that has gone into this production, and his attention to the finest details. The action takes place around a multi-layered set combined with an often un-seen, handy centre-stage entrance allowing for an un-interrupted dynamic flow to the performance. The large selection of suitable outfits for an 80’s youth musical draws the audience into the era, and the performance is further enhanced by clever technical additions such as a projector and headset microphones.
Choreographers Ali Walsh and Vanessa Redmond have done a fantastic job of organising the many, many dance routines that feature throughout the show, making full use of the multi-levelled stage. The talented performers move effortlessly through a range of dance styles from sinuous balletic elegance to the racy energy of up-beat pop.
As the story unfolds the dance moves are interwoven with the many classic Fame songs sung by the cast. Almost unexpectedly the voices of these young adult and teenage performers are mind blowing; you just don’t expect such strength and power, as well as technical ability filling the theatrical space around you. They really do justice to the highly successful world-wide experience of Fame.
Stand out performers include Georgia Broomhall’s enthusiastically food-obsessed Mabel Washington who brings many comedic moments to the show, and absolutely nails her solo performance. Another strong cast member is Josh Angeles taking on the tough role of illiterate and strong-willed Tyrone Jackson, who is in conflict with strict teacher Ms Sherman, played by the indomitable acting and singing force that is Lisa Simonetti. Mark Stefanoff as Schlomo Metzenbaum creates a deeply moving scene towards the end of the show that brings the audience to tears and reflects the tragedy as well as the triumphs of these talented students’ lives.
The Fame band is also a successfully strong element of the show; however, unfortunately, some solo aspects of group performances were lost due to the volume of the band. This is a small technical glitch that needs to be rectified.
Allow yourself to enter the energetic, exciting and often drama-filled world of Fame, because it is well worth the musical experience.
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Venue: Goodwood Institute, 166 Goodwood Road, Goodwood
Season: 23 – 31 October
Duration: 2.5 hours (including 20 minute intermission)
Tickets: $26.00 – $34.00