Strap yourself in for a flashback to the 80s with this high energy show full of neon, perms and leg warmers.
Flashdance is one of those iconic films that most of us have seen or at least heard about. Female lead Alex has an ambition to become a professional dancer. She has no prior training, just pure talent and passion to join Shipley Dance Academy. As a welder by day and dancer by night, she defies stereotype and uses her tough and driven attitude to fulfil her dreams.
It can be easy to forget that the film was not a Musical, even with its dance numbers and pop music. So that meant this show had a tough ask. To stay true to the story we all know and love but also add depth to the characters and write brand new songs.
Thankfully they kept the best scenes. You know the ones I’m talking about. The famous water fall on the chair and solo in the black leotard. You’re counting down the seconds until you see those moments. They are the numbers that are etched into our brains as if we could perform them ourselves.
Of course it wouldn’t be Flashdance without Maniac, What a Feeling and I Love Rock and Roll. They’re the toe tapping numbers that transport you back to the era. They’re the ones that give you goosebumps. However, this is not a jukebox Musical. I kind of wish it was though as the new songs might of sounded 80s but were not catchy at all.
The film doesn’t have much narrative depth so the writers extended on some of the character story lines. The most well formed and interesting was best friend Gloria’s downward drugs spiral, which added an unexpected darkness to the plot. This highlighted the point of the original film, to follow the difficulties of working class people trying to follow their dreams.
I was also quite surprised with the amount of dialogue. It was a little heavy on the conversation and I know I’m being greedy, but I just wanted even more dance. The word is in the title, so it’s pretty intrinsic…
Ignoring my greediness, the Musical’s biggest strength is its choreography. The dance numbers are simply mind blowing. I was in awe of the big group numbers as the dancers pumped, jumped, popped, locked and disco danced their hearts out. The whole cast are incredibly talented and unbelievably flexible. Seriously, I can’t even touch my toes. One of my stand out numbers of the night was I Love Rock and Roll. It was sexy, sassy and seriously hot.
I remember watching the film as a child and noticing that the lead character Alex showed utter joy for dance. It was infectious. She danced to be happy and was happy because she danced. So who better to replicate this love than pro dancer Joanne Clifton. Her lifelong dedication to dance, award winning ballroom past and Strictly Come Dancing crown make her the perfect Alex.
This show is as big as the perms on the actors heads. It is as ‘in your face’ 80s as it gets. It’s a flashback to Flashdance in all the best ways. Definitely worth a watch for other fans out there.
Flashdance is at Palace Theatre, Manchester until 17th Feb 2018 and tours the UK until October. http://www.flashdanceuktour.co.uk/tour-schedule
Have you seen this show or are you a fan of the film?