King’s Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 24 Jan
Running through the list of musical numbers in the programme your heart slowly starts to sink. Clearly the creators of this stage version of Fame couldn’t afford the copyright to songs from either the film or TV versions. What, no ‘Starmaker’? What’s happened to ‘Hi Fidelity’? Where the hell’s ‘Body Electric’?
Characters’ names too have been altered in the transition from screen to stage, but keen-eyed fans of a certain age will be able to see right through the changes. For ambitious Latino singer Coco read Carmen Diaz. For inspirational dancer with bad attitude Leroy read Tyrone Jackson. For bad-tempered music teacher Mr Shorofsky read Mr Scheinkopf.
The songs are generally pretty forgettable, the characters sketchily drawn and there’s an air of deep silliness to the whole thing (one character dies of a drug overdose then pops up singing ‘I’m gonna live forever!’). The show only really comes alive when the aspiring stars of the New York High School for the Performing Arts start paying for their dreams in sweat with a couple of high-energy ensemble numbers. The best-known face onstage, X Factor finalist and ex-teacher Beverley Trotman, gets to belt out a power ballad about how wonderful it is to be a teacher, and the crowd goes wild at the end when a big yellow New York taxi gets wheeled on and the cast explodes the space to the strains of the title track.