REVIEW: Fame – The Musical, Liverpool Empire 14/04/14

Set in and around the high school of performing arts on West 46th Street NYC and not a leg warmer in sight Shazney Spence found herself immersed in song, dance and more as Fame the musical came to town..

The show got off to a vibrant start with the cast singing the number “Pray I make” the hopefuls being keen to be accepted into the prestigious performing arts school.

Time has clearly moved on since the original film of 1980. With its modern references to the likes of Katy Perry, it was clear from the outset that this show would have a modern slant. This is fame in the 21st century with mobile phones and iPads on show.

The crowd was instantly dazzled by Gary Lloyd’s choreography. Taking on a dual role of choreographer and director, his moves were executed with energy, precision and finesse. The vocals of all the cast were extremely strong especially Landi Oshinowo (Miss Sherman) and Jodie Steele who plays the role of Carmen.

The sexual references particularly in the song “Can’t keep it down” the fourth song in were completely overt and unnecessary. Although the overview states that it contains adult themes and strong language, the 12+ rating was inaccurate in my opinion. Joseph Giacone’s performance of the song is described as “X-rated but honest” – X-rated and unnecessary I think.

Tyrone’s dance moves were outstanding (Alex Thomas). However, I felt that his clichéd persona – a disadvantaged black male was trite and predictable. By song number six (Tyrone’s rap), I was disengaged and rolled my eyes. This was a shame considering his ability to dance.

I was unforgiving by end of act 1 and optimistic that act 2 would redeem itself and win back my approval. Thankfully by the end of act 2 and the finale: Fame (reprise) I was up and dancing on my feet. All in all, it was a good show. It was a shame that the sexual references detracted from the overall performances.

This performance is witty and at times sad. If you are looking for some entertainment with fantastic choreography and music, go and see this production but leave the children at home. The vulgarity and occasional drug references are not for young eyes and ears.

FAME runs at the Liverpool Empire until Saturday 19th April.

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