Arts Reviews

Musicality’s Fame! The Musical @ Nottingham Arts Theatre

Fame! is a musical that has the perfect mix of acting, singing and dancing. It’s infectious 80’s-themed music made me want to get up on stage and join in with the cast, so grab your neon clothing and leg-warmers before watching this production!

The story follows a group of performing arts students as they make their way through the minefield of high school drama. The group struggle to balance academic life and pressure from their teachers alongside their dreams of pursuing artistic careers. As the name would suggest, the characters are all desperate for fame, and it appears that they will go to any lengths to achieve it. Although Fame! is mostly a feel-good, light-hearted musical, it does address some serious topics such as drug abuse, body image, and the harsh realities of showbiz. The poignant ending of the musical helps to highlight the hidden horrors of the business.

“The quality of the acting was very impressive”

Particularly for an amateur performance, the quality of the acting was very impressive. Alongside this, there was a great range of styles of dance within the show, including ballet, hip-hop and Latin, complemented by the different musical influences. The orchestra was fantastic and created an electric atmosphere amongst the audience. Arguably the most important feature of a musical is the music itself, and the vocals of this performance were first-rate, especially from Claire Wimbush, who played the lead role of Carmen Diaz. Alongside the music, the choreography that Alleisha Furlonge-Royal created was superb and made good use of the stage space available.

“There was a good balance of both comedy and more sincere scenarios”

There were also many comic elements of the show which added to the amusement. The song ‘Can’t Keep It Down’, performed by James Thacker playing Joe Vegas, was especially hilarious and certainly tickled the audience. At the same time, the play managed to achieve some endearing moments, such as the unrequited love of Serena, and Nick’s eventual realisation of his feelings for her. Therefore, there was a good balance of both comedy and more sincere scenarios.

“The team managed to accomplish what they set out to do”

Despite the many successful elements of the show, I found the storyline of the musical slightly slow and the time shifts were perhaps confusing for the audience, as time seemed to jump forward in some places and draw out for lengthy periods in others. One of the weaknesses of being an amateur performance was that the audience could see the movement on stage in between scenes, however, I understand that this is highly difficult to avoid. These drawbacks didn’t deter from my overall enjoyment of the production and the team managed to accomplish what they set out to do.

“Musicality have put together a brilliant performance”

In conclusion, Musicality have put together a brilliant performance that showcases the talent of the musical theatre society and the university as a whole. The musical features a highly skilled cast and the hard work of the production team is definitely evident. I immensely enjoyed the soundtrack and the music of the show, and I would recommend Fame! for its fun and uplifting feeling. As a lover of musicals, I would definitely watch this production again!

8/10 – excellent, highly enjoyable.

Sophie Hunt

Image courtesy of Musicality

‘Fame! The Musical’ is running at the Nottingham Arts Theatre until Saturday 18th February. For more information and to book tickets, see here

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