Reviewed by Kerry Cooper
First time director Chris Daniels has done himself proud with his debut production ‘Fame’. From beginning to end this show is fast paced, entertaining and innovative. Most are familiar with either the television series or movies of the same name, but even though this musical came to the stage in 1988 it carries with it a freshness and an abundance of talent.
Set design by Daniels allows the performers space to deliver big dance numbers, wonderfully choreographed by Ali Walsh and Vanessa Redmond. Emily Barraclough and Mark Heuer did a fantastic job with lighting design; the four round windows upstage housed projected images relevant to scenes and looked very effective. Experienced musical director Ben Stefanoff does a fine job with his talented band. As can be the case with small theatres, the music at times drowned out voices, but nothing that was too distracting.
What gave this production its edge was the well-rounded developed characters. All chasing their individual dreams of stardom in their chosen fields. Across the board casting was excellent. Jasmine Garcia brought depth to her role as drug addicted Carmen Diaz; with a beautiful voice to match, her duet with Schlomo Metzenbaum played by Mark Stefanoff was a highlight. Multi-talented Stefanoff delivered a fine performance, which we have come to expect. Lucy Carey, Mitchell Smith, Tayla Coad and Josh Angeles were strong in their roles, as were Georgia Broomhall and Aled Proeve who offered comic relief. The show-stopping performance of the night came from Lisa Simonetti as Ms Sherman; her rendition of ‘These are my children’ was pure perfection.