Fame, the iconic 80s hit series and film made its way to Sheffield on Tuesday for its nationwide tour, starring in Sheffield at the Lyceum Theatre. With high expectations, the bar was high, and in this instance, Fame the musical would not get past the audition stages.
The story follows the lives of students at New York’s High School for the Performing Arts as they go through their teenage years and the issues that follow: heartbreak, addiction, identity, racism, literacy, sexuality and social pressures. While the musical is set over 30 years ago, the relevancy is still strong with today’s audience. The portrayal of these issues lacked some depth and grit despite being prevalent still, there was arguably some glossing over to try and fit everything in to time constraints.
The production starred an all-star cast with Jorgie Porter as Iris, a decision that was amiss. Despite the Hollyoaks starlet being a public favourite, playing the character who is the ‘best dancer’, she fell short. Her appearance was merely that, adding little to no stage value; though it is clear she tried and as the production went in to the second act her confidence grew. Dancing is a focus of the Fame franchise and the timing was off in a few of the numbers, something that should be fine-tuned in a musical all about dancing, singing and acting.
While the opening night nerves may have gotten to some, notable exceptions were Jamal Kane Crawford who plays Tyrone, Stephanie Rojas who plays Carmen and Mica Paris who plays Miss Sharman. Paris was phenomenal and when she performed, she brought the production alive; her voice was flawless and carried the audience to tears and rapturous applause. Rojas who plays troubled Carmen embodied her passion brilliantly and was the perfect cast. Crawford’s dance skills were electric bringing not only huge stage presence but also huge smiles to the audience.
While it’s apparent the cast put together a good show, something was missing, the star value. A true hit and miss performance, which can only get better from this opening night. Hopefully.
Fame continues to tour across the U.K. See the website for more details.
(Link website: http://fameuktour.co.uk/ )
Image credit: Sheffield Theatres