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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs


Liverpool Empire Theatre
June18th – 23rd 2007

Producers – Adam Spiegel & Mark Goucher
Directed and restaged by Karen Bruce
Cast Includes: Lucas Rush, Abi Finley, Nick Hayes, Sophia Nomvete,
Carlton Connell, Leanne Pinder, Madalena Alberto and Debbralee Wells.

Image: Promo image for 'Fame'.


Fame is a tale of the trials and tribulations during a four year period in the early eighties of a group of students at the New York High School of Performing Arts. It is a high energy show with an enthusiastic cast. The dancing is terrific and the songs are performed remarkably well. There is quite a bit of sexual innuendo early on, which I hope went over the heads of the large amount of young children in the audience, otherwise some parents where having to do some rather quick thinking to explain what was going on!

As the stories of each of the characters unfold we were able to witness the talent on display, and what talent there was. On the singing front we had the pleasure of watching Abi Finley, fresh from her appearance last year on How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria, showing that Andrew Lloyd Webber and his cohorts were correct in spotting her talent, Webber would have been proud. Not only did she prove her singing talent to us but she showed in her portrayal of Serena Latz that she can act as well. Nick Hayes was excellent as Nick Piazza and his rendition of I Want to Make Magic was amazing. Almost stealing the show was Sophia Nomvete with her performance as Mabel Washington, what a singer and what a talent she is. The majority of the comedy was left to Lucas Rush in the role of Joe Vegas, he performed with great comic timing.

As this is Fame there had to be dancing and once again we were not let down. Carlton Connell playing Tyrone Jackson, the teenager with a rather large chip on his shoulder, moved across the stage as if he owned it and was a pleasant sight for all the ladies, and some of the men, in the audience. Leanne Pinder, as Iris Kelly, was graceful and elegant in all that she did.

Highlight of the show had to be the Debbralee Wells (Miss Sherman) singing These Are My Children, the song was sung with such passion it was impossible not to be moved – truly stunning.

Despite all these words of praise I was left with a feeling that there was something missing. This was due, in part, to the fact that the various stories of the characters seemed to be separate stories and there was a lack of cohesion between what was happening to them. This was emphasised by the fact that although Madelana Alberto, performing the role of Carmen Diaz, sang superbly throughout, when she returned from her ill-fated trip to L.A. I had forgotten about her character!

Nevertheless, the show was brought to a tremendous finale with the Graduation scene in which the whole company were involved in singing Bring on Tomorrow, quickly followed by the signature tune of Fame. A great finish to a very good show.

Martin Maloney

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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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