Date 15th August 2016
Society Cloud Nine Musical Theatre Group
Venue The Academy, Selsey
Type of Production Musical
Director Sue Graves
Musical Director Paula McGovern
Choreographer Hester Lucas


Author: Jackie Kenyon

From the moment my daughter and I arrived at The Academy at Selsey to see 'Fame' one could feel the community spirit. Everyone knew each other and knew someone in the cast. Whole families were involved, with some backstage, some on stage and some involved in the technical side of the show - what a lovely atmosphere and community feel this had. We were made to feel very welcome and shown to our own table with a very good view of the show.

This was performed in a school hall, which I'm sure has fairly limited resources as far as lighting and sound equipment goes, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that every single cast member had a radio mic - no mean feat when all the equipment has to be brought in for the show. The night we watched there were no issues with the mics themselves which is always good, however a few cues were late meaning we missed the beginning of cast members' lines and there were also several times when they were left on when cast members were off stage, which can be distracting to the audience. It was however great to see every cast member with a mic which made for a good balance in full company numbers- well done to the technical team for this.

It was also lovely and refreshing to see, and hear, a full professional band, under the superb leadership of Paula McGovern. The minimal set was a great idea and made use of the space and resources available - projections onto the cyc at the back of the stage gave the audience enough information to know where we were and what was happening. Technical issues can never be helped and we had some on the night I was watching, but these were sorted in the interval.

It would have been nice to see cast members bringing on and off their own props/furniture - chairs, keyboard, ballet bar etc, rather than stage crew, as this would have added to the continuity and realism of the show and would have been quite in keeping with their characters.

The cast obviously enjoyed being part of this upbeat show and there were some very good individual performances. Samuel Townsend sang beautifully as Nick Piazza, as did Abby Robinson as Carmen Diaz and Mary Bensley as Serena Katz. However the highlight for me was the number by Maddi Butler as Mabel Washington - what a superb voice and characterisation - she gave it her all, absolutely putting across the sentiment behind the number and her character.

As mentioned earlier it's great to see and feel the community spirit at a performance like this and to know and see that the young cast are enjoying being part of something which gives them a sense of belonging and such enjoyment. It was obvious they had all worked very hard on creating this captivating performance.