Fame the Musical

Attention please, the Class of ‘84 is in session and ready to put in some hard work, thanks to Edinburgh University Footlights

Review by Elaine Reid | 12 Feb 2018

Fame the Musical, the stage version of the iconic 80s film of the same name, follows a group of ambitious, bright young hopefuls who are clad in legwarmers and striving for stardom at the prestigious New York School of Performing Arts. Directed by Caitlin Powell, this production bounces with energy and vigour thanks to a cast that gives gusto to each of Caili Crow's well-choreographed hops along with blasts of song and tender moments of teenage angst.

While the whole ensemble is strong, there’s some talented scene stealers who lift this show head and shoulders above what you might expect from the production. From the effortlessly elegant and beautiful ballet scenes featuring Iris played by Hannah Barnetson, to the impressive vocal talents of Alice Hoult as Serena and Adam Makepeace as Nick, the cast display real skill to back up their enthusiastic bounce. Carmen, as played by Mimi Joffroy, is everything Carmen should be; sassy, fiery and confident, with a strong vocal ability to boot, which grows in power during the second act and booms to the back of the theatre. This is a bit of a relief, as at times in the first act it felt as though the band overpowered the voices on stage, leading to a bit of an awkward noise fight.

Despite being set in the early 1980s, the show still feels relevant and raw, and is peppered with themes which continue to resonate, especially in today’s social-media-like-hungry, get-famous-quick-or-stand-aside society. From self-doubt, to unrequited love, to the cheeky confidence of youth, and to the promise and danger of a get-big-quick offer, the show manages to pack in a lot of tender and funny moments among the energetic, stage-packed numbers.

With the iconic soundtrack ringing through the ears of the audience long after the show finishes, this is a high-kicking, air-jumping, stonker of a show. Edinburgh University Footlights, we’ll remember your name.

Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 10 Feb http://www.edfootlights.com/fame