TOWN Mayor Bob Mainstone and his wife Christine were in the audience for Wednesday night’s storming performance of Fame at Sackville school.
The stage musical, adapted from the previous film and TV series of the same name, is a toe-tapping feel-good show based around a group of aspiring young performers at New York City’s High School of Performing Arts.
Sackville has set its bar very high in previous years’ shows, and Fame – an ensemble production which showcased its pupils’ many talents both on stage and in the orchestra pit – proved another winner.
Hard Work, which featured the entire cast, got the evening off to a stomping start and set the scene for some great dance routines which made use of every inch of the stage.
And as the story developed, we learnt of the struggles of the young performers, each trying to make the grade, and dreaming of the day they would see their names in lights.
Rhys Harmour, as earnest actor Nick, brought real sweetness to his performance. His voice has a warm timbre, and his floppy-haired good looks made him the perfect Romeo for the end-of-year show – and I suspect won him many fans in his young audience.
Jess Argy put in a touching performance as the fame-obsessed Carmen.
On the surface Carmen was bursting with fiery Latino self-confidence, but Jess brought out her underlying vulnerabilty and made a real tragedy of her descent into drugs and eventual suicide.
Juno Phitidis was endearing as shy-but-quirky actress Serena, and used her strong voice and crystal clear diction to lovely effect in her two big numbers, Let’s Play a Love Scene and Think of Meryl Streep.
One of the many highlights of the evening was Cei Steptoe’s performance as the dyslexic dancer Tyrone. Muscly Cei looks more like a boxer than a hoofer, but boy can he dance – and a spectacularly effortless splits at the end of one routine earned him huge and well-deserved applause.
In lovely contrast to Cei’s contemporary dance moves, Grace de Souza played impoverished ballerina Iris with a grace and elegance becoming her name, and there was enchanting work too from Charlotte Nield as little sister Primrose, whose dancing was a delight.
Alex Mustard was sweet as the faithful and understanding Schlomo, nursing his unrequited love for Carmen: and Henry Lagrange made the most of his comic lines as the show’s funny man.
Megan Parsons performance as “fat” Mabel was terrific and her solo Mabel’s Prayer, was another highlight of the evening: and there was a heart-rending performance too from Blue Hedges as Miss Sherman who sang a marvellous tribute to a single teacher’s lot in the touching ballad These Are My Children.
A large supporting cast of singers and dancers gave the show its vibrancy and buzz.
And a special word of praise is due to the school’s orchestra composed of pupils, teachers and parents for a terrific evening which showed the school community at its marvellous best.
Reviewer: Geraldine Durrant