Kids in London – Fame and bicycle rickshaws

KimT's London for Kids Blog

Having a dance mad daughter who had sneakily researched cut-price tickets to see Fame I had no choice but to take her along.

I must admit I forgot that the Shaftesbury Theatre was at the Covent Garden end of Shaftesbury Avenue so we had a bit of a walk from Piccadilly Circus (we should have gone via Covent Garden tube). Still, it was a pleasant Friday evening and the show didn’t start til 830pm so we were ok.

On arrival we were a bit perturbed to learn that the Grand Circle was not going to be used (I didn’t know that they had fire wardens in theatres - not a reassuring site on arrival at a busy theatre!) and that we were to be allocated seats in the Royal Circle. As it happens, this was all done with great efficiency and I think we ended up with better seats.

My daughter enjoyed the show although we both took a while to grapple with the fact that whilst the characters were similar to that in the film – they had different names and the story line was significantly different (especially the ending – which was a bit of a shock for my daughter - drug deaths ain't particularly easy to explain to youngsters!).

Whilst the film version has a nice progression through the school years and develops the characters and various storylines well, the stage production veers towards show casing the dancers, singers and drama majors in a series of individual performances. Apart from Fame (sung brilliantly at the end) none of the songs were familiar either.

I had been looking forward to seeing the girl who appears in “Two pints of lager” in the show. She took the role of Serena – effectively Doris in the film version – and I’m afraid that I wasn’t that impressed. The lead male playing Tyrone (Leroy in the film version) was a great looker and a fantastic dancer but he perhaps shouldn’t have attempted the singing role.

Now I know that the show isn't targeted at kids, but there were lots of kids in the theatre and disappointment ruled when we discovered that none of the wonderful sparkly Fame tee-shirts were available in child sizes. Come on merchandisers - I bet loads of Mums would have bought them for their kids! So I had to cough up the £6 for the large size programme with lots of photos.

Kids like routine. And familiarity. And security. They like things to be just the way they expect them to be, so I have no doubt that some of the other younger members of the audience would have been perplexed that the theatre production was so different from the film.

Anyway. I thought that a great end to the evening would be to take a bicycle rickshaw from Long Acre across to Waterloo. The Eastern European guy driving was nice enough and promised a low fare, however his knowledge of London was somewhat lacking as we ended up back at the theatre and on our way round Trafalgar Square when I stopped him and told him to let us off at Charing Cross. This detour took so long that we missed our train home. My daughter thought the ride was great but I was very nervous about the safety aspect (it was, after all, quite late on a Friday night and there were lots of bars chucking out wobbly punters - some were nice enough to wave to us as we went by, others looked like they were about to fall into our path) and pretty fed up with the unexpected “long tour” of the West End. Be warned.

Posted Date
Jun 20, 2007 in KimT's London for Kids Blog by KimT