Opera House, Manchester
11 August 2011


Fame the Musical has never been the best show, its entertaining enough but over the years has become more like High School Musical and less like the original production from the late 80s. It is however a great training ground for new performers (I myself spent the longest time in the show) and because of that reason it’s the perfect show for the kids of the Manchester Stage Experience.

Whilst this may not be the best show this summer programme has done it makes up for its shortcomings in sheer energy and passion.

Fame is a simple story, it follows the students of the New York High School of Performing Arts on their four-year journey from 1st day to graduation. We see the highs and lows of chasing the ultimate dream and the dangers of instant fame. Like the Oscar-winning film and the TV series it’s an ensemble piece meaning many of the cast members are given their chance to shine.

The young cast worked hard to keep the night moving along and although some of the singing from a few of the leads was questionable it was also completely forgivable just to see them having so much fun. Rebecca Lake as Serena - the acting student who falls hard for her classmate - was perfectly cast and could step in to the touring show with ease. Sophie Louise Craig as the doomed Carmen Diaz was also a stand out and Chris McCreery shone as Joe providing some of the funniest moments of the night.

For a dance musical like Fame the choreography was alright, however for a show as era specific as this it would have been better if the moves matched the decade. The only other disappointment is that some of the keys the songs were performed in should have been changed to match the young cast’s voices.

These however are just minor grumbles, the most important thing here is that a group of youngsters are having the time of their lives on the stage and that is to be applauded.

With high production values, a wonderful band and a polished design, Fame makes for a fun night out. With all the riots around the country and here in Manchester recently it’s wonderful to see such positive youngsters using their time so productively and working hard to chase their dreams, I really hope they all reach the heights they want and deserve.

- Craig Hepworth