Since 1989, the Edinburgh University Footlights has served as an outlet for students to showcase their performing arts skills through the annual shows it holds. This year, they debuted their production of Fame: The Musical. The cast consists of 22 actors, a live band, as well as an additional production and technical team. Set in 1980s New York, the show follows a group of ambitious, fame-driven students during their time at a Performing Arts High School. Whilst attempting to make it all the way, they are faced with the difficulties of balancing romance, hard work and the pressure to succeed.
The cast excellently demonstrated the stark contrast between the unique personalities on stage, with strong chemistry evident between several couples. The light-hearted humour broke up the more serious themes of the musical, with Matt Galloway leaving the crowd in stitches with his portrayal of Joe.
The sublime level of vocal talent displayed by these young performers is stunning with harmonies euphonious enough to cause goosebumps. Although each voice had an individual quality, Alice Hoult (who played the role of Serena) captivated the audience with her emotional rendition of “Let’s Play A Love Scene” becoming, without a doubt, a true star of the show. The singing was flawlessly accompanied by the band led by Carey Andrews, with soulful instrumentals heard from the saxophone and keyboard.
Unfortunately, the production’s choreography seemed to lack some originality, with a number of routines feeling stylistically repetitive. Besides this, the stage was used to its full capacity and it is important to note the excellent standard of dancing evident throughout the performance by a brilliant ensemble, and specifically Hannah Barnetson’s ballet prowess as Iris.
The backdrop of the set remained the same throughout the show, this meant that the focus remained on the actors themselves. We had hoped to see wider variation in the lighting in order to reflect the ever-changing atmosphere on stage. The costumes and overall presentation of the characters undoubtedly reflected the fun of the 80s; the outfits of the female characters seemed to stand out significantly more than the males, suggesting they needed a little more pizzazz.
Based on the excellent standards of acting and singing, we believe it would be difficult to distinguish these young performers from professionals. On the whole, Footlights’ rendition of Fame: The Musical is certainly not one to be missed.
Fame: The Musical
The Church Hill Theatre
Runs until 10th February 2018
Photo credit: Andrew Perry