THEATRE – Fame is the name of the game for Darryn

IT is a scene that should be familiar to university graduate, Darryn Glenn.

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Jennifer Neil, Darryn Glenn and Emma Louise Nisbet are in Fame at the King's Theatre
Jennifer Neil, Darryn Glenn and Emma Louise Nisbet are in Fame at the King's Theatre

Only a few years ago he was a performing arts student, and now he is gearing up to play one in the Lyric Club's production of Fame at the King's Theatre next week.

He will play Nick – a budding actor – in the 1980s "coming of age" musical, set in the High School of Performing Arts.

Darryn, 24, who completed his honours degree at the University of the West of Scotland, said there were definitely similarities between his experiences and those portrayed in the show.

"The general atmosphere and social or cultural issues illustrated in Fame are portrayed quite accurately, as far as I can remember, from my experience at a performing arts school," he says.

"There is definitely rivalry and jealousy as the abundance and variety of talent creates a lot of competition – and in the performing arts, competition and rejection are things you really must prepare for.

"Studying the performing arts can be very physically and emotionally demanding, but it is also great fun.

"This is an obvious theme throughout Fame as the company chant 'Hard Work!'"

Although Darryn favoured singing while at university, in the show he plays Nick, who is focused on becoming at actor.

Darryn, 24, said: "He is quite straight-laced, very serious about his acting, probably more serious than any of the other characters and he is really just there at the school to further his acting career, not to make friends or mess around like some of the other characters.

"I wouldn't say I am the most straight-laced or professional person in the world so he is not exactly like my own character I guess but it has been good fun

"It is quite funny to play the uptight, geeky character."

Darryn was asked to play Nick after starring in an annual concert. He had the principal role in the show by Tom Daniels, the musical director of Fame, and was spotted by members of the Lyric Club.

Now shop worker Darryn, who is aiming for a career in musical theatre, will take on the biggest male singing role in the show.

He said: "It is a coming of age story. It is set over a four-year period in a high school for the performing arts and it basically follows the story of a group of adolescents, separately.

"There are stories of drug-taking and death and of love and rejection and sexuality. It could really be set in any background, it just so happens that it is set in a performing arts school, so on top of all these serious issues there is a lot of dancing and singing and jazz hands.

"When you have got so much going on with the choreography and the music I think it is important to have a clearly outlined storyline, and that is done quite well in the show."

Set in the 1980s, the show conjures up images of Lycra and leg warmers, and audiences will not be disappointed.

Darryn said: "The story is quite universal so it could be set in any decade, but in terms of the costume we have definitely been advised to go down the 80s route and I am sure there will be a lot of leg warmers and sweat bands and Lycra.

"Because my character is not a big dancer it is more casual, general clothes I would wear, but for the general company it is definitely 80s based."

The highlight of the show for Darryn is one of the last scenes, set at a graduation ceremony, where the entire cast sing a song written by drug addict and fame-obsessed character, Carmen, who is played by Jennifer Neil, 18, from Carntyne.

He said: "We sing 'Bring on Tomorrow' and it is quite a moving song.

"The whole company are involved, not just the principals, or a few ensemble member, it is the entire cast that sing that piece and it lifts the hairs on the back of your neck."

Darryn said he was excited about taking to the stage at the King's Theatre for the first time.

He said: "I have been going to see shows at the King's Theatre since I was very young so it is very exciting to be playing the lead in a musical in a theatre I have been going to see other people play in for so long.

"The atmosphere should be electric, it certainly will be backstage. Because it is such a high-energy show you need to have the energy personally to pull it off, if you like, or to be convincing in the parts.

"If that shines through our performances then hopefully the atmosphere from the audience will be exactly the same."

l The show runs from Tuesday March 5 to Saturday, March 9. Book tickets (£14-£22) by calling the Lyric Club ticket convenor on 0141 889 0177 (no fee) or the King's Theatre on 0844 871 7648 or at www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

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