Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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REVIEW | Fame, UK Tour

1 Garrick Walk, Leicester LE1 3AF, UK

Leicester Haymarket Theatre
★ 1/2 

Fame is most certainly a name you'll remember (I hope that wasn't too on the nose?). To mark the 30th anniversary of the stage show, the musical is back under the direction of Nick Winston. The show means a lot to people aware of it and its history - if you know it then you've been connected to it somehow. It was one of the first productions I saw professionally and it always serves as a reminder of the 18-year old I was who had big dreams of becoming a professional dancer. In the show, we go on a journey with aspirational teenagers as they pursue their dreams at a prestigious performing arts school in New York City. 

Fame is a household name on the stage with many productions on each level from school to professionally across the UK over the years. This new UK touring production definitely delivers a new direction that captures the level of energy needed for these determined individuals. In terms of storyline, Fame for me is quite weak as it's based around different individuals and their journeys. But what it doesn't have in the story, it definitely makes up for with the musical numbers. Nick Winston's clear cut choreographic is perfectly aligned to Fame, right through to the fingertips. There are some real punch and attitude in the movement, especially for the more fast-paced numbers Fame has within it. 

Collectively this was one of the better productions where I have seen actors take on a fresh rendition of characters we've known for so long, but could be seeing for the very first time. Molly McGuire is superb as Serena, particularly as she brings a dorky kind of energy that works so well. Her vocals are gorgeous and I think she was a real surprise for the audience.

Josie Benson has recently taken on the role of Miss Sherman and she captures the principal's stern side well. The room gave thunderous applause in response to her rendition of 'These Are My Children' offering a more sensitive side to the character too. 

Jamal Kane Crawford does a fabulous job at portraying Tyrone's vulnerability and struggles in the performing arts school. He has excellent movement talent but his portrayal in his speech delivery is captured well. His chemistry with Iris (Jorgie Porter) is executed beautifully - especially when we see the pair dance together and confront one another about their individual struggles outside of the dance studio. Jorgie Porter is delightful as Iris and she definitely suited this character well. She delivers a believable ballet dancer poise and grace as she slides across the stage. She throws herself into all of the big musical numbers too and hits the movement in perfect timing. She shows different sides of Iris' character really well and has most certainly worked on the character development consistently. 

Shining as Carmen is Stephanie Rojas. Stephanie does a brilliant job of taking us on Carmen's journey as she elevates to a diva but then hits ground bottom. It's a fantastic portrayal of how cut-throat the performing arts industry can be and her performance of "In L.A" most certainly captures that. She takes us to the edges of her vulnerability and sadness at not making it quite there. She definitely draws you in with her excellent energy within the musical numbers and vocal range too! 

For me, Nick played by Keith Jack was my least likeable character. I couldn't connect with him at all throughout the production. 

Nick Winston has directed a production which captures a lot of the elements that over the years have been lost - particularly in the musical numbers but has also added some contemporary ingredients which help lift it up too. The production has been stretched to make it more accessible and entertaining for its audiences, proving that time doesn't age Fame. The eye-catching stage design from Morgan Large really expands the space. The stage is black except for colourfully lit headshots acting as scenery. The scenes do transport easily between different scenes in and around the performing arts school thanks to some detachable stairs and a helpful use of props. The costumes are very 1980s "Fame" and I love that - adding a great touch of the musical's foundations without feeling as though it's lost in time.

I definitely think elements of the show could be better but that's down to the original book. As mentioned before the story is quite flat in terms of "dramatics" and it could be told in a few minutes without the musical numbers.

Having said that I love what Nick has crafted in making the production fun, fresh and memorable to see. I'd definitely give it a chance, especially for those people who are new to theatre and want to see something with so much history!

Fame the Musical is touring around the UK until November 2019. 


  1. You know I've always loved the film for Fame but have never seen the stage performance! I completely understand where you come from in terms of storyline, following so many characters can make things drag...I've been trying to see more shows in the last few years so hopefully I find some time to catch this one!

    Love reading your reviews Emmie!

    Sarah x


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