REVIEW: Fame

SHAFTESBURY THEATRE 17/5/07

THERE can’t be many lazier productions in the West End right now than the new version of Fame, with the lovable musical ruined here by drab sets, clumsy dialogue, awful American accents and simply unforgivable casting.

You know the story: Performing art students wear leg-warmers as they learn life’s lessons while graduating from singing school.

It could have been fun (really, it could have been) but the decision to use Ian ‘H’ Watkins, the most irritating member of irritating pop group Steps and actress Natalie Casey undermined it all.

Casey, who played the wacky one in Hollyoaks and then played the wacky one in Two Pints Of Lager, is cast here as the, erm, wacky girl in search of romance. She has two skills: quizzical looks and shouting. Shame then, that this is a musical and what the show really needs is people who can sing and dance. Similarly, Watkins reveals the sham that was Steps, struggling with the high notes and failing to conjure up any emotion.

You should be rooting for the pair to get together but you couldn’t care less if they ever kissed.

If it hadn’t been for Desi Valentine as tormented Tyrone (his name was Leroy in the film, why can’t he be Leroy now, we love Leroy), then it would have been a complete swizz. A one-man team, Valentine steals the show with his lightning dancing. How Watkins dared think he could share the same stage as him, I’ll never know.

There were about 15 haphazard morals to learn along the way, like it’s okay to be fat, drugs are bad and shortcuts never work, blah, blah, blah – we just wanted to see some emotion.

This is a classic tourist trap, feeding off the film and TV series notoriety without any substance. Fame will live forever, you will remember its name but people will see this and cry.

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