Live reviews

Fame, the musical - De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin. We all know how the story goes..."FAME! I wanna live forever, I wanna learn how to fly....HIGH!..." So sang the kids from the 'New York High School for the Performing Arts'. This annoyed the hell out of me in my adolescence, with my 'brat' sister dancing around the living room in her excitement, as the rest of us watched the one household TV. Well I'm more tolerant now and my 'brat' sister has turned teacher herself, a responsible pillar of society! So here I'm sat, all of these flickers from my past once again threatening to haunt me, as I await this torture.

It's like this, you have to confront your fears, or maybe more aptly put, like that 'pug' at the back of your nose you simply have to pick, regardless of the fact you'll force gravity to play its part, sending showers of crimson down your freshly ironed shirt. Well my finger was firmly lodged, in its attempt to lever this 'clod' of aging glory, and as the lights went down, I couldn't help my anticipation feeling "Well maybe this is going to be alright...".

It was 18 years ago that David de Silva realised upon the silver screen surely every kids dream, a timeless story documenting the 'blood, sweat and tears' journey of those that strive toward achieving the musicals title, a life that could mean stardom and untold riches for the few. One who's idea is surely overplayed now more than ever, as it seems to be acted out for real in our front rooms on 1 network or another 2 or 3 times a week. But it is here where the format started after all, so a night spent in the company of the cast of 'Fame' can be forgiven.

Looking somewhat like the backing singers plucked from a Britney Spears concert, the cast fitted with headsets acted out the familiar story, characters, dialogue, songs and all, brought to this smaller than Broadway stage, but still managing to keep the production alive. It may've been said that at times the sound crew in their exuberance let proceedings run out of control as this albeit small auditorium was drowned in sound, but a long running, now musical was brought in all its authenticity to the mid Shires.

Although they may've persuaded a long time cynic that this small slice was alright, I'm afraid that the space lying between fact and fiction is a wide one and I am still no more a fan of the format than I was when I arrived. A musical is one thing, just as long as they never wheel out Gareth Gates and Will Young to rouse the audience in an encore, now that is one 'pug' that should remain firmly lodged.


Nick James


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