Fame — The Musical

Neville Creed, Director of Cultural Activities, writes: With so much musical and dance talent at St Edward’s it seemed an excellent idea to stage Fame. The performances were given the usual Dance Show slot in the calendar and preparations began midway through the Autumn Term. Auditions can be an anxious time but a strong and well-balanced ensemble was assembled by Lisa Elkins (Director), Alex Tester (Musical Director) and Beth Steer (Assistant Director).

The stage musical is based on the popular 1980 hit musical film and TV series. The text and plot never challenge Shakespeare but the show’s strength lies in its fantastic dance numbers choreographed with great skill and finesse by Lisa Elkins and Dennis Victory whose experience of performing in the West End production proved invaluable. The catchy songs are also a huge asset and the musical detail was led with intense energy and skill by Alex Tester.

The leg-warmers and baseball caps dominated the scene and individuality was allowed free reign. The most impressive aspect of this show was the ability of all the performers to excel in so many different areas: dancing, singing and acting — all performing with such energy and intensity after a full week of rehearsals and performances. Particularly memorable moments were Tanaka Chitsenga’s elastic performance of Dancin’ on the sidewalk, Emma Isola’s fiery flamenco rendition of There she goes and the full cast in full swing for I’m gonna live forever. Fergus Flory showed excellent stage presence and Lucy Kellock braved illness to deliver her part with supreme confidence. There were a host of excellent solo performances but the real strength of this production lay in the security and unanimity of the ensembles — it was exhausting even to watch the complex and driven dance routines! The encore of the title song delivered from the bonnet (sorry – hood) of a New York yellow taxi (sorry — cab) was a fitting climax to an exhilarating show.

The band delivered the complex and taxing score with great skill and it came as a surprise to members of the audience that many musicians were pupils from the younger year groups. The technical team excelled and I would like to particularly mention the brilliant lighting effects.

This was another triumph for the performing arts at St Edward’s and we look forward to their next endeavour.

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