REVIEW: Flashdance ★★★★ – UK Tour

“…uplifting, high-energy and oozes passion, fun and talent”

★★★★

West End Theatre Guide

Flashdance is a musical adaptation of the 1983 hit movie starring Jennifer Beals. Tom Hedley turned down many offers to make a big screen sequel to Flashdance but jumped at the chance to create a stage musical. Co-created with Robert Cary and Robbie Roth, Flashdance debuted in Plymouth in July 2008 and hit the West End in September 2010. Now, it is making its 2017/18 UK Tour.

Flashdance follows the story of an aspiring young dancer, Alex Owens, who works as a welder by day and bar dancer by night and dreams of going to dance school. Through her ability to work in and adapt to a traditionally male industry, she shows her toughness and strength, and she refuses to accept any help to get into her dream dance school, Shipley Academy, even when it is offered by her boss, Nick Hurley. There is endearing (and indeed relatable) vulnerability in Alex’s fear of failure in going for her dream, about being told no, taking away what could have been, and she experiences self-doubt over her qualifications and worthiness to go to such an esteemed school. This means the audience are really rooting for her when she makes it to the final Shipley audition.

Flashdance has a certain realistic quality which is sometimes absent in other musicals. It is not a musical where everyone’s dreams come true and there are happy endings for all. Gloria (an aspiring actress) becomes the figurehead of misguided dreamers when she takes a job in a rival club on a false promise, and her boyfriend and wannabe comedian, Jimmy, goes to New York and ultimately fails in his dream. Nick insists Alex is naïve and needs help to succeed in her application to Shipley because of its prestige and wants her to use his connections with the school, reminding us that no matter how talented you are, unfortunately that’s not always enough, and that who you know in the industry really does open doors.

Joanne Clifton (Strictly Come Dancing (TV), Face the Music, Norma Jeane – the Musical) stars as Alex Owens. Known for being a Strictly Come Dancing professional, Clifton’s dancing is of course superb and she excels in the iconic dance number ‘What a Feeling’; however, she also impresses as an actor and singer, with a scintillating stage presence and a superb singing voice with ‘It’s All In Reach’ and ‘A Million to One’. Ben Adams (former leading singer of A1, songwriter) features as Nick and gives a great performance of ‘Enough’. Hollie-Ann Lowe (Annie, Scrooge, South Riding (TV)) as Gloria, Sia Dauda (We Will Rock You, Dick Whittington, Sleeping Beauty) as Kiki and Demmileigh Foster (The Late Late Show, Sleeping Beauty) as Tess all gave stellar performances throughout.

Featuring a score of 1980s music including hit songs such as ‘What a Feeling’, ‘Maniac’, ‘Gloria’ and ‘I Love Rock and Roll’, Flashdance is uplifting, high-energy and oozes passion, fun and talent.

Flashdance is currently touring the UK (for more information on tour dates and to buy tickets, click here).

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