Newbury YoungStars - Fame Jr
17th to 19th March 2016.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
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Talented Newbury YoungStars graduate with flying colours
Newbury YoungStars: Fame Jr, at Arlington Arts, Snelsmore, from Thursday, March 17, to Saturday, March 19
Newbury YoungStars’ production of Fame Jr at Arlington Arts was a hugely enjoyable show, set in 1980, when a group of students were hoping for a place in New York's High School for the Performing Arts.
If they were successful, they would have a gruelling four years of studying dance, music and acting, as well as pursuing the academic rigours that the board demands.
The show opened with the authoritative Miss Sherman (Hannah Day) informing the whole company that they need to study hard and they enthusiastically sang the song Hard Work, with some particularly good harmonies.
We met the dance teacher Ms Bell (Jasmine Danbury) and the dance ensemble, as well as Miss Sheinkopf (Anna Colston), the music teacher, and her students. All of these youngsters performed with rigour.
In acting class we met teacher Miss Myers (Ellie Winchester) and Nick Plazza – an excellent stand-out performance by the talented Josh Hogan.
Nick was passionate about drama and Wants To Make Magic and confessed to Serena (Poppy Bowness) about his previous acting career, but wanted to keep it a secret.
She was in love with Nick but he wanted to concentrate on his acting.
In dance class, the streetwise hip hop dancer Tyrone (Alex Smith) was finding the ballet lessons difficult and was also falling behind with his homework. His pairing with the clever student Iris (Josephine Winchester) caused further tension.
Jade Caulfield, dressed in black leather, splendidly played the troubled, self-assured Carmen, who was desperate to audition for a part in West Side Story. She also wanted to be in the band that Schlomo ran. Luke Diprose perfectly captured the character of the doubting Schlomo.
Carmen had written new lyrics for a song and persuaded Schlomo to give her a chance, although their relationship was doomed to fail and she left the school, with disastrous consequences.
There was much sympathy for Mabel (Beth Kingston) who loved food and couldn't stop eating but needed to lose weight. Riley Seamons brought a touch of humour as the fun guy Joe Vegas.
The finale Bring On Tomorrow was powerful and the show ended with a rousing rendition of the theme song Fame.
The live band, under the direction of Michael Evans, was spot-on and director Scott Taylor created a fluid production that enabled both individuals and the ensemble to shine, bringing out the very best from his young cast.
Congratulations are due to all for a fun, entertaining evening.