Whitcliffe students heading for the stars

Whitcliffe students heading for the stars

Whitcliffe Mount School’s production of ‘Fame’

Review by Matthew McKirgan

Audiences were transported back to the 1980s this week as students from Whitcliffe Mount School donned their leg warmers for a production of the hit musical, ‘Fame’.

Based on the film of the same name, the stage production of Fame follows a group of talented students as they strive to graduate from the exclusive High School of Performing Arts as a route to fame and fortune.

Along the way, the diverse group of teenagers face a range of dilemmas – about relationships, image and talent – which are as relevant today and will be as familiar to the students playing the parts as they are to the characters they are portraying.

The Whitcliffe Mount cast brought such enthusiasm and passion to the show that the audience were swept along on the whole journey – dancing in their seats to the familiar beat of 80s pop one minute, crying at the loss of a talented friend the next and shoulders juddering with laughter before the tears have had chance to dry.

The school’s ‘We Are Whitcliffe’ ethos was in sharp focus, with the entire cast working together to create something more than the sum of its parts, with each member bringing something special to the party.

Whether it was a strong vocal talent, dynamic dance moves or authentic acting, this cast had it all.

From the opening number to the final curtain call, the cast set the bar high and maintained an impressive level of energy which made the show flow from scene to scene, never letting up and keeping the audience on the edge of their seats throughout.

The comedy timing of Schlomo (Stanley Lawson) and Mabel (Hannah Hirst), the romantic tension between Nick (Aden Carter) and Serena (Ella Naylor), the cool moves of Tyrone (Joey Wilby), the irreverent adolescence of Joey (Keiran Constable), the restless energy of Carmen (Emily Barker) and the passion and dedication of Miss Bell (Sasha Mills) and Miss Sherman (Naomi Ashforth) combined to produce a spectacle which went far beyond that of a school show.

Make no mistake that, like their fictional counterparts, these kids have serious talent and are heading for the stars.

The parallels between the story and reality didn’t end there either.

In the fictional world the students come to learn that they will be the last class to graduate from PA in its current dusty old building.

Likewise, Fame will be the last major Whitcliffe Mount production to be staged in the existing building as the school moves into new facilities on the same site this summer.

So as the curtain comes down on one stage, another is set to rise and those of us who have been fortunate enough to see the school’s shows over a number of years can be assured that the annual treat will continue to flourish.

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