It was an emotional moment, when the lights went down, the band struck up, and the curtain rose on the first production many audience-goers have seen since before Covid-19 rocked the world.
And what a way to start.
Curtain Call Creative’s long-awaited inaugural production of Fame: The Musical flew by in a whirl of colour, light, energy, music and dance; as opening nights go, the students and creatives must be beyond proud, because it was exceptional.
You couldn’t just see the energy, the joy, of the students – you could feel it, in every row of the audience. It was infectious. The theatre was alive and alight with the energy of a young cast eager to finally be back on the stage.
Leading the principal cast was Nathan Stubbings as Nick Piazza, a young actor determined to make it as a ‘serious’ performer. And just as there was no doubt Nick would make it, there is certainly no question that Nathan has something special.
Amelia Lake was captivating as Carmen Diaz, and the way in which she tackled her character’s tragic arc showed a maturity well beyond her years; her performance of ‘In L.A.’ was, quite simply, stunning.
Another unquestionably rising star was Ellie Warne as Serena Katz, whose natural stage presence is undeniable. Every time she sang, too, you could hear a pin drop in the theatre – nobody wanted to miss a moment.
Ben Thompson and Sophie Frost showed both pizazz and grace in abundance as Tyrone Jackson and Iris Kelly, and in particular Tyrone’s ‘Dancin’ on the Sidewalk’ and his later dance duet with Iris were truly excellent.
Arguably some of the toughest roles to take on as a student are those of teachers, especially against your peers, but Caitlin Mooney, Bethany Wilford, Chantou Spit and Jess Freeston did a brilliant job. The ‘Hard Work’ counterpoint section at the top of the show and Caitlin’s rendition of ‘These Are My Children’ are most certainly deserving of a mention.
Freya Mackay-Blake as Mabel Washington brought the house down with ‘Mabel’s Prayer’, and both she and Brennan Coe as Joe Vegas raised many a chuckle with their comic timing and assured delivery of some of the show’s most memorable one-liners, and Enid Rees, Kaitlyn Donovan and Samuel Evans-Murray made a great team as Lambchops, Goody and Schlomo respectively.
The amount of young talent on this Island is astounding, and there were so many moments in Fame: The Musical where the fact that these were students entirely slipped the mind, thanks not only to their talent and passion but also to the dedication of their tutors and the show’s creatives: Andrew Woodford, Ashleigh Mackness and Katy Allen.
Curtain Call Creative, I can’t wait to see what you do next…
Get your tickets for the final performance here!
Reviewed by Emily Scotcher