Review: Fame - a show that has it all

Fame The Musical, comes to Peterborough New Theatre . Photo@ �Tristram Kenton
Fame The Musical, comes to Peterborough New Theatre . Photo@ �Tristram Kenton

Its heritage might be a piece of  80s pop culture, but Fame The Musical, which opened at the New Theatre in Peterborough last night, is certainly for the here and now.

The show follows the journey of a bunch of hopefuls on their path through the New York High School for the Performing Arts, and rummages through the baggage any group of teenagers carry around with them. There is drugs, the unquenchable thirst for fame at any cost, racism, and more examined - and not frivolously -  as the characters’ souls are laid bare.

And they are issues that are increasingly  relevant in the social media heavy world young people are growing up in today.

It is a rollercoaster of emotions at times, but ultimately the show is an absolute feast of music, singing and dancing.

Nick Piazza, the driven acting student ignoring the advances of an admirer in pursuit of his craft, is brought to life nicely by Keith Jack, who made his name on the TV show Any Dream Will Do, but is a little under used for me.

Jorgie Porter (Iris), meanwhile, showed that while  she might be best known for Hollyoaks and celeb TV, she can really dance - and had plenty of stage  time too. But while those two make the front of the programme don’t for a second think this is just the Keith and Jorgie show, there is a huge amount of talent to be enjoyed.

Molly McGuire stands out as Serena, she of  unrequited love. A great piece of  character acting and a wonderful voice. And Stephanie Rojas excels as wannabe-at-any-cost Carmen.

Jamal Kane Crawford has a real presence as dancer Tyrone.

And amidst the adolescent despair, there is a lot of light relief from Albey Brookes as Joe with the one tracked mind. A terrific piece of comic acting in terms of timing and physical comedy.

Josie Benson’s (Miss Sherman) rendition of These Are My Children got the ovation it deserved and I loved the poignant graduation scene, which led nicely into the finale and Fame - the song that seemingly will live forever.

Brad Barnes sees Fame The Musical (at Peterborough New Theatre until Saturday)