Flashdance truly dancing for their lives! (*****)

Blogger Becky Mary (@beckyymary) reviews Flashdance at New Wimbledon theatre.

Flashdance the musical is an adaptation of the classic film ‘Flashdance’, often recreating famous memorable moments from within the film with an added flare of ballads, high energy dance numbers and of course love.

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The story follows Alex, working two jobs as an apprentice at a Steelworkers and a dancer in a nightclub, she holds back her true dream of becoming a professional dancer with a company. With encouragement from her fellow friends and Hannah, who she calls her guardian angel she takes the leap to audition to Shipley Dance Academy. But in true story style it’s not that easy, with cuts happening in both of her jobs, falling in love and watching out for her friends it starts to interfere with her plans.

The overall production is phenomenal, with so much energy and fire in the cast it is projected onto every part of the stage and throughout the audience. Along with slick dance routines that will make you feel exhausted from watching them and questioning how the company can do an 8 show week to fantastic ballads that rip the emotions out from the character and pour them out to the audience.

The vocals as a whole were superb, being strong and clear even when in the middle of the dance routine. The quality of singing is on comparison and if not better than some West End shows that are currently playing.  I must mention that at the end actress Sasha Latoya, who plays Louise adds a diva flare at to the finale riffing over the cast with vocal runs that will make you need to sit down, you don’t expect it from her character but it is truly mind blowing the sound that is produced.

The set itself was very cleverly thought about often being made of steel pipes and in some places very minimal which meant the stage didn’t at any point feel overcrowded or too empty. I really liked the idea of the plain screens that had various projections on to change the area/room which they were simulating.

Joanne Clifton who plays Alex is mind blowing. Joanne not only looks the part but dances with so much energy and expression it works seamlessly with her character. As well as this Joanne voice works perfectly with the overall feel of the character, having power behind it as well as a pure tone. I feel that she works perfectly within the role of Alex more so than previous productions.

Ben Addams who plays Nick defiantly looks the part and sounds it too. Ben’s voice is unique in that it has a very vibrant tone to it that contrasts well alongside Joanne’s but also excelling in solo numbers. I think that although Ben is not a dancer this role does not call for that, he does dance along at the end which is nice to see.

The story line is not complex and is very easy to watch and follow, meaning it’s great for a night out but also good to take family and friends. Personally I like that the show has not overcomplicated the story line as it flows seamlessly throughout.

5 stars

I would rate this show 5 stars overall because of several points. The attention to details from set to costuming works extremely well, you can see that no corners have been cut like some productions. The stage presence from all the cast, the whole company being extremely upbeat and talented there is not one weak person in there. Finally, its uniquely strong dance ability, I think that because of the nature of the show it really appeals to not just musical theatre lovers but dancers too.

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I would recommend it for anyone but especially prospective dancers who wish to go into dance as a profession, the level of dance is off the charts and this makes it a unique selling point.

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