Opening night of Fame at New Theatre Cardiff provided an audience of all ages ready to be taken back to 80s style and musical flare. The debut film of 1980 and the subsequent TV show that followed took the world by storm and proved a big hit not only in the US but in the UK too. People were engrossed in the high school of performing arts that warned you if ‘You’ve got big dreams. You want fame. Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying: in sweat’.
An energetic burst of dance routines and music lit up the stage as we followed the main characters including Nick, Tyrone, Iris, Carmen and Serena, who dreamed of stardom and heady fame. None more so than Carmen played by Stephanie Rojas who dreamed of her name being up in lights and taking every opportunity no matter the cause. Rojas vocal performance throughout was one of the highlights of the show as she conveyed the want and need to succeed despite her odds. Her unrequited romance with Schlomo was endearing and their musical union was a special moment.
Hollyoaks alumni Jorgie Porter played Iris the impressive ballet dancer who pairs up with the high school of performing arts resident bad boy Tyrone played by Jamal Kane Crawford who seemed to be based off Leroy from the original film and TV show. Although I did like the pairing of Iris and Tyrone, in particular the moment where they emotionally connected through Tyrone’s reveal of his Dyslexia I felt that there was more style than substance in their characterisations. I must add that Porter truly excelled in her dance ability which backs up her previous success on Dancing on Ice.
It was great to see the talented Mica Paris grace the stage as Miss Sherman and her solo song nearly blew the roof off the theatre. Paris has always had a sublime skill with her vocal talents but she truly excelled in my opinion, in the stand out poignant and stunning performance of the show.
As we follow the students over their 4 year journey at the school we see high school heartbreak, self-discovery and also tragedy. However, the one thing I think that we can all relate to in fame is that we all have a dream, whether we realise or fulfil that dream or not and I think that’s why the heart of the phenomenon lives on. I have no doubt that Fame will continue to draw crowds of all generations of years to come.
New Theatre, Cardiff until September 29