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Review of Flashdance The Musical at New Wimbledon Theatre

Ben Adams and Flashdance Company - Credit Brian Hartley
Ben Adams and Flashdance Company – Credit Brian Hartley

As far as eighties bonanzas go, Flashdance has got to be up there with the best of them. True, it cannot compete with Dirty Dancing for sequins and sparkle, but there is real gutsy glamour in the juxtaposition of the grimy, seedy backdrops and the dazzling dancing. The musical makes the most of this captivating dichotomy; almost all staging and props are made of uncompromisingly grim industrial metal, while the dancers themselves pop in lurid spandex and vivid face paint.

This, after all, is the whole point of Flashdance; it is a story of hopes and dreams, but more importantly of hard graft, as Alex and her fellow welders and exotic dancers struggle to leave behind the sordid reality of their everyday existence. Apprentices at the steelworks are getting laid off, and punters are leaving jovial Harry’s club in their droves to patronise the more risqué and sordid joint down the street.

Alex herself has an unexpected boost in the form of Nick Hurley, charming son of the owner of the steelworks. He is determined to secure her a coveted place in the Shipley Dance Academy, but proud Alex is reluctant to accept his help. At the same time her friend Gloria, deserted by her man, accepts creepy CC’s offer of a dancing job and gradually descends into an underworld of stripping and drugs.

Of course, we are not particularly worried, because everything is gloriously resolved in the much more upbeat and pacey second act. As we knew it would be. People who come to see Flashdance are not looking for gritty reality, nor do they particularly desire convincing, heartfelt acting – which is a good thing. They are there to escape the real world, to feel good and, most importantly, to be transported by some breathtaking dancing.

They are in for a treat; the level of athleticism on the stage and the energy radiating from each and every performer is galvanising. Matt Cole’s choreography is slick and beautiful; everywhere you look somebody is doing something astonishing with their legs, and props and scenery are shifted by the actors themselves as part of the action, often while somebody is dancing on them. Not only can these guys dance, but they can sing too; Joanne
Clifton, in full Doris Day mode as perky Alex, particularly raised the roof. Hollie-Ann Lowe as vulnerable Gloria, and Matt Concannon, deeply sinister as club-owner CC, almost stole the show with their heart-rending side-story. All actors play several roles, shifting seamlessly between characters and costumes.

Add to this some superb lighting effects and a series of zingy tunes, and you have all the elements of a great show. All the classics are there – What A Feeling, Maniac and Gloria have the audience toe-tapping from the beginning – but the new tunes also have the essential feel-good, eighties factor. When the inevitable reprise happened, during the curtain call, the audience leapt to their feet and cheered, danced and stamped. Everybody left the theatre smiling and laughing – no mean feat for a chilly autumn Tuesday night. An evening of wonderful, ridiculous fun.

Prepare to be blown away with an astonishing musical spectacle and phenomenal choreography to this iconic score, including the smash hits “Maniac”, “Manhunt”, “Gloria”, “I Love Rock & Roll” and the award-winning title track “Flashdance – What a Feeling”. Produced by the award-winning team at Selladoor Productions – producers of Footloose, Avenue Q and Little Shop of Horrors – and Runaway Entertainment – producers of In The Heights, Guys and Dolls and Lazarus, FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL is not to be missed!

4 stars

Review by Genni Trickett

Take your passion and make it happen!
FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of 18-year-old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, who dreams of going to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and becoming a professional dancer.  When a romance complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream.

Based on the Paramount Pictures film (Screenplay by Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas, story by Tom Hedley) Flashdance is an inspiring musical about the power of holding onto your dreams and love against all odds. Flashdance proved a hit with audiences, and remained in the Top 10 Box Office in the States for 15 weeks after release. The original score also proved hugely popular, with the soundtrack album selling 700,000 copies within two weeks of release. The platinum-selling hit title track “Flashdance – What A Feeling” won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 1983, with the soundtrack winning the Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special in 1984. FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL is produced by Selladoor Productions and Runaway Entertainment. 

LISTINGS
FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL
ON UK TOUR FROM 31 JULY 2017
Performances:
King’s Theatre, Glasgow, 07 AUGUST – 12 AUGUST 2017
Empire Theatre, Sunderland 11 SEPTEMBER – 16 SEPTEMBER 2017
New Theatre Oxford, 18 SEPTEMBER – 23 SEPTEMBER 2017
Regent Theatre, Stoke 25 SEPTEMBER – 30 SEPTEMBER 2017
New Wimbledon Theatre, Wimbledon 02 OCTOBER – 07 OCTOBER 2017
Liverpool Empire 16 OCTOBER – 21 OCTOBER 2017
Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells 13 NOVEMBER – 18 NOVEMBER 2017
Opera House, York 27 NOVEMBER – 03 DECEMBER 2017
The Alexandra Theatre Birmingham 04 DECEMBER – 09 DECEMBER 2017
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh 15 JANUARY – 20 JANUARY 2018
Palace Theatre, Manchester 29 JANUARY – 03 FEBRUARY 2018
New Victoria Theatre, Woking 19 FEBRUARY – 19 FEBRUARY 2018
Princess Theatre, Torquay 26 FEBRUARY – 03 MARCH 2018
DeMontfort Theatre, Leicester 26 MARCH – 31 MARCH 2018
Theatre Royal, Brighton 09 APRIL – 14 APRIL 2018
Hippodrome, Bristol 25 JUNE – 30 JUNE 2018
Milton Keynes, Theatre 16 JULY – 21 JULY 2018

Website: www.flashdancetour.co.uk
Twitter: @FlashdanceUK

Author

  • Genni Trickett

    Genni is one of the senior reviewers for LondonTheatre1.com, contributing regularly with reviews for London and regional shows. Genni has been passionate about theatre from an early age, performing in various productions throughout school and university. She is currently an enthusiastic member of an amateur dramatic society in South West London. Her favourite thing about living in London is the breath-taking variety of shows and theatrical talent. https://www.facebook.com/genevieve.trickett

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