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06 December 2023

Naughton is the name to remember

Fame promises a rocking good time for all. (SUPPLIED)

By Damon Smith

The New York City High School of Performing Arts is one of America's most prestigious training grounds for the country's most naturally gifted artists, dancers, musicians and singers. Trained for professional careers in the arts and pitted against one another in class, the students quickly discover that nothing short of excellence will do during the four years of trials, tribulations and crushing disappointments. Hopefuls including Marco (Asher Book), Rosie (Kirsty Flores), Neil (Paul Iacono), Kevin (Paul McGill), Denise (Naturi Naughton), Jenny (Kay Panabaker), Alice (Herington Payne), Malik (Collins Pennie), Victor (Walter Perez) and Joy (Anna Maria Perez de Tagle) push themselves to the limit to the delight and obvious envy of their classmates, while attempting to impress their demanding teachers, Alvin Dowd (Charles S Dutton), Joel Cranston (Kelsey Grammer), Fran Rowan (Megan Mullally) and Lynn Kraft (Bebe Neuwirth).

Young choreographer-turned-director Kevin Tancharoen pays homage to Alan Parker's 1980 version while breathing some fresh air into his revamp. So there is an impromptu lunchtime jamming session but sadly no recreation of the taxi sequence.

Music is updated to incorporate rap and hip-hop, and the grand finale graduation show is a medley of ballet, African tribal dance and gospel singing, which doesn't quite raise the roof.

Naughton, who effortlessly dispatches the biggest musical numbers, sings an R&B cover of the infectious Fame theme song but this is only heard over the closing credits – sadly we never see her perform it. She is definitely the standout actress among a young and good-looking cast and we will undoubtedly remember her name.

DVD?Extras include deleted scenes, a Remember My Name character profile, a Dances Of Fame featurette and a music video. And for dance fans, the Extended Dance Edition of the film, featuring more than 15 minutes of thrilling dance footage you couldn't see in theatres.


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