'Audience on feet for show finale'
By Pete Rimmer
IT'S not the first time this show has been brought to The Empire as it was seen in in a large production about five years ago. So it’s not surprising that a less than sell-out crowd turned up on to the first night to see the well-known story of highly testosterone filled young people as a bunch of performing arts students in New York. It’s been a film and TV series and has been performed all over the world. This production is the second part of a nationwide tour.
The high energy start from a great young cast gets the show off to a good start, when we see the performers being auditioned and then taken on to be part of the New York High School for Performing Arts.
Only the best of the best can make it and of course it’s the same all over the world in performing arts, whatever you want to do there are always more candidates than places so it’s a nasty business and will always be filled with sad and happy stories.
The musical is set between 1980 and 1984 and reflects attitudes of the time such as racism, drug abuse and the cut-throat perfectionism expected at performing arts schools. Nothing much changes but this does not mean it’s anything less than a musical bursting with much flashing neon lights and well played live on stage music.
The first half lets us get to know the characters, the bossy Miss Sherman played by Misa Paris, Stefanie Rojas as the fiery Hispanic Carmen and Jorgie Porter makes a splendid Iris together with unstoppable Jamal Kane Crawford in his role as Tyrone.
Not full of well-known songs, the cast make a good stab at Hard Work,Lets Make Magic and The Teacher’s Argument.Its in the second half that the show bursts into life with Dancing on the Sidewalks and a stunning These are My Children performed by Mica Paris who received a well-deserved cheer for her soulful version of the song.
The usual sad part near the end is soon eclipsed by the cast singing the main theme Fame and as usual the audience are on their feet for a standing ovation.
The show can be seen at the Liverpool Empire until this Saturday (March 16).
Is life at LIPA like this?