Review of Viva Youth Theatre and dramart’s production of ‘Fame’ the Musical at the Brook, Soham on Thursday 12th July 2012.

Viva Theatre always comes up trumps. This was a fantastic production of ‘Fame’. What was particularly successful was the way in which the performers were all utterly believable and drew us inextricably into the drama. We felt their adolescent angst, we never felt as if we were separate from the action.

The characters were strongly portrayed, the part- singing particularly strong and the dancing inspiring. Congratulations go to the Choreographer, Louise Plummer, who managed to reflect the emotional drive of the performers extremely well while including movements of  amazing agility and moments of exquisite calm and fluency.

Tyrone Jackson (Charlie Ellerton) filled the stage with his eccentric character. Anti- establishment and oozing raw talent he sang and danced like a pro. Joe Vegas (Daniel Lane) was completely uninhibited, his wild diatribes horrifying the girls, marking his role in the troupe of hopeful actors, singers and dancers as the one that was decidedly ‘odd’, but loved all the same.

Carmen Diaz (Shellie Baigent) was the epitome of the show: ‘Fame’, her sparkling talent swamping us with exuberant confidence and determination. She was going to be famous! She created a phenomenal contrast between her arrival at the Performing Arts College as the brash fresher and the humbled addict doomed for failure and an early death at the end.

Serena Katz (Ellie Bovingdon) was one of the best performers to express strong emotions as her relationship with Nick developed. Her singing was particularly impressive, her top notes well rounded and beautiful.

Iris Kelly (Laura Day), the precious ballerina, exhibited charming fragility. Her dancing was particularly inspiring.

Ms Bell (Lisa Bushell) and Miss Sherman (Hetti Wood) made highly credible college teachers. Their struggle for dominance culminated in a magnificent cat fight over how to educate the talented but illiterate Tyrone. Their assertive, school ma’amish characters were wonderfully clear. Their colleague, Mr Myers (Adam Hebbard) was always the quiet voice of support and reason while student Goodman “Goody” King (Charlie O’Connor) wowed us all with his fantastic guitar improvisations in the band. Forthright Grace ‘Lambchops’ Lamb (Emily Palmer) was the feisty drummer of the band and Schlomo Metzenbaum (Lee Sherwood) the much maligned descendent of a musical genius was the pianist. His relationship with Carmen was one of the most poignant of the show. Another outstanding character was Nick Piazza (Ben Clark) and he and Serena sang some of the most moving duets.  The nerdy piano teacher Mr Sheinkopf (Phil Evans) and the food addictive student Mabel Washington (Naomi Porter) added delightfully strong extra dimensions to the show.

This was an outstanding production. Director Mikey Kowalczk, Musical Director Graham Brown and the Band, Producer Dan Schumann and the essential crew are to be congratulated for such a moving event so packed with pizzazz.  

The next Viva Theatre Company production is Stepping Out on the 8th, 9th and 10th November at The Brook

Contact Viva on 01353 722228 or vivayouth@hotmail.co.uk

Rosemary Westwell

 

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