Review: Frederick Gent students put heart and soul into Fame Jr

Fame, presented by the pupils of Frederick Gent School, South Normanton.
Fame, presented by the pupils of Frederick Gent School, South Normanton.

Mortar boards thrown in the air were symbolic, marking the end of the show, the end of term and the end of school for some students.

It was every bit as memorable as the famous finale in Fame in which a big yellow taxi arrives on stage carrying the tragic star of the show.

This was Fame Jr, a diluted version of the musical which kept all the great songs and characters of the original but removed the unsavoury elements.

Perfect for a cast of under 18s, it fizzed with all the energy and teamwork of the adult version.

The cast at Frederick Gent School, South Normanton, threw themselves into the production with great gusto this week and really looked the part with legwarmers, crop tops and crimped hair setting the 80s mood.

Leading lady Ellie Jackson was every inch the beautiful, talented Carmen Diaz who dropped out of college early to chase her dream of being in movies.

On the singing front, Madison Naylor got a well-deserved cheer from the audience for her rendition of Mabel’s Prayer, a heart-tugging lament of a girl destined to be the world’s biggest dancer.

Taylor Matchett as golden-voiced intellectual Nick Piazza, Ethan Flint as class rebel Tyrone Jackson, Corey Golden as composer Schlomo and Lydia Jones as ambitious actress Serena brought realism to the main characters, a feat matched by Luci Wells and Charlotte Bakewell as the warring members of staff, Miss Sherman and dance teacher Greta Bell.

The dedication to working hard wasn’t confined to the on-stage performance, Frederick Gent students also took on the technical tasks to make this a production of which every one of them and their teachers should be proud.