Fame the Musical

Date 6th November 2019
Society Berwick-upon-Tweed Amateur Operatic Society
Venue The Maltings
Type of Production Musical
Director Laura Catterall Lisa Summers
Choreographer Sheila Bradford Lisa Summers


Author: Kathryn Curry

Once again Berwick Opera Juniors have thrilled their audiences with a production to be proud of. This was the second youth group production and once again proved what talent there is in this society.  ‘Fame the Musical’ follows the lives of a diverse group of fame seeking young students at the ‘New York High School’ for ‘Performing Arts’. The story follows the progress of the students from their first year to their graduation and tells of their highs and lows to achieve the success they desire in song and dance as well as their struggles to work though distinctly non-musical problems; in particular the usual trauma of adolescent love. The cast coped well with the content of the production and there were some very well acted emotional moments of acting from the principal line-up.

The music worked well in this theatre. Good lighting and effective use of stage blocks and props etc all worked well to create the various scenes and the huge number of children on stage coped extremely well with their moving about. It was obvious they were well rehearsed and very competent in their entrances and exits.

Costumes and props were all authentic and certainly added that extra dimension to the show. Congratulations to wardrobe mistresses in dressing all these children to make them look so good.   A mammoth task indeed, so well done to Laura, Jen and Jodie. All on stage were fully engaged and obviously revelling in being part of the show. The children sang well and movement in songs was slick. I particularly enjoyed the ballet scene with the young students especially the performance from the talented dancer Kate Harwood.  The cast engaged well with the audience and brought their characters to life developing their various characters as the show progressed. The show ran smoothly though out with good stage management from Neil and Ernest at the helm.

Alice Heald as ‘Miss Sherman’ gave a very polished performance, with excellent diction and lovely clear singing. Jemima Cowan as ‘Miss Bell’ complemented her in every way with a performance to be proud of.

Matthew McIver-Scott  playing ‘Mr. Myers' was superb he is a real star and has a bright future ahead of him in drama. Kai Jardine ‘Mr. Sheincopf’ was a contrast to the others in the teaching team and gave a competent performance.  Morgan Flannigan and Susie Ward worked very well together and gave sound performances in their roles as ‘Nick’ and ‘Serena’. Both have lovely singing voices. Corey Learmonth as ‘Tyrone’ excelled in this dancing role, the best I have seen him and the duet he sang with Katie Harwood as ‘Iris’ was excellent. A beautiful dance scene between these two was a real highlight of the show. Lily Cornish gave a delightful character performance as ‘Mabel’ and for me stole the show as she belted out her song ’Mabel’s Prayer’!  Another youngster who gave a very polished performance and is another star in the making was Evie Ryan who played ‘Carmen’.  All the supporting characters who backed the main principals all showed natural stage presence in their roles. Namely,Oscar Lawson, Joseph Harwood, Ebba Martin and Jamie Lawson.

It’s always lovely to see so many children on stage working together with obvious enthusiasm; so another winner for this company. Principal Summers and Principal Catterall must have been very proud of the successes of their students in that they gave us a great evening of entertainment.