Fame - Belgrade Theatre, Coventry - Until Saturday
The world-famous High School for Performing Arts is at the centre of this storming show which just bursts with energy from start to finish.
This is a rollercoaster ride of friendship, romance, unrequited love, heartbreak and even addiction, shattered dreams and tragedy.
Fame is relentlessly upbeat and even in its darkest moments the soaring riffs heralding that feel-good title tune are never far away.
If you’re expecting the 1980s feel of the film you will be disappointed – but the show’s contemporary treatment also works well.
Opening night was not without its challenges though and the young talented cast coped well with a series of understudies drafted in as well as an emergency ‘substitution’ late in the first half when illness struck one of the performers. They carried on unphased.
The action is delivered at a frenetic pace backed by a live band. But the joy of this production is that, despite the large ensemble, the different characters are distinct from the start.
Joseph Giacone gets most of the laughs as zany, hormonal Joe Vegas, while Jodie Steele is a feisty but vulnerable Carmen.
And it ends with the audience up on their feet for a reprise of Fame.
Review by Amanda Chalmers.