Fame – the Musical: you’ll want it to last forever

Fame is on at Bridlington Spa until Saturday
Fame is on at Bridlington Spa until Saturday

One mention of Fame is all it takes and that tune is spinning round your head all day – with memories of leotards, leg warmers and high box jumps.

It is all recreated on the stage of the Bridlington Spa in a production which fizzes with energy and grinds with gritty realism.

The fashions have been given a subtle make-over so they look more 21st century – but are true to the style of Alan Parker’s original 1980s film and the later TV series.

The drama based around the lives of students at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts passed me by all those years ago – I was more into Matt Monroe than Madonna (and still am).

My loss – as the tour of the musical proved. I knew I’m Going to Live for Ever and had a vague notion of the plot but boy was I in for a few nice surprises.

“You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying in sweat.”

These words – spoken by Mica Paris as school principal Miss Sherman – set the tone right from the outset.

This is not a schmalzy, tap-dancing, tune-filled light-weight jaunt through high school romance (nothing wrong with that, if it was).

It is a hard-hitting look at what it costs to get to the top of one of the toughest and over-populated professions.

It tackles racism, sex, drugs, illiteracy and eating disorders to a score of rock-ballad that includes the downright vulgar and enjoyable Can’t Keep It Down and Dancin’ on the Sidewalk.

Then there’s the gut-wrenching In LA and the combative Teacher’s Argument.

Of course, there is balance and belter-ballads including Bring On Tomorrow and These are My Children.

Fame is in the mould of Flashdance and A Chorus Line – showbiz is not all glitz and glamour and instant gratification – it takes grit, hard grind and hardwork just to graduate performing arts school let alone get a job. The competition is fierce and schools are a cauldron of rivalry, jealousy and naked attraction.

The tour is served by an immaculate cast – with everyone playing their part in what is an ensemble piece – no star shines brighter than the other, they make up the perfect galaxy.

Jorgie Porter is the goody-two shoes dancer Iris whose relationship with the talented but illiterate Tryone – Jamal Kane Crawford – raises eyebrows.

The two actors play the relationship with tenderness and sensitivity and their dance routines are sublime.

Keith Jack is the sensitive aspiring actor Nick and Molly McGuire is Serena who desperately wants to be the Juliet to his Romeo. The actors play the shyness and naitivety in the relationship with true conviction.

There are cameos from Albey Brookes as the over-sexed joker Joe – and his female counterpart is Mabel played with joyous abandon by Hayley Johnson.

Stephanie Rojas is a knock-out as Carmen – possibly the most talented student of them all and definitely the most troubled. Rojas captures the drug addict’s depair and desperation in a powerhouse performance which includes the emotionally draining lament In LA.

Mica Paris has the voice, the stage presence and the acting chops all in one. She brings the house down with These Are My Children.

She also leads the cast in the finale with Fame – I’m Going to Live For Ever sending the audience off into the night humming that darn tune.

Fame runs at Bridlington Spa from now until Saturday October 20. Performances are daily at 7.30pm plus a matinee on Wednesday October 17 and Saturday October 20 at 2.30pm.

Tickets: 01262 678258 or www.bridspa.com