Flashdance Review

Kings Theatre, Southsea  – until 19th May

Reviewed by Nicky Wyatt

4****

An iconic 80’s film brought to the stage.

The story of Alex (Joanne Clifton) is as punchy on stage as it was in the film, (once you accept she is now a blonde). A pretty girl doing a tough job, in a mans world and is doing it really well, while still harbouring her dreams and passions to be a pro dancer. Life has made her into a tough cookie or so it seems on the surface, she is sassy, funny and quite defensive this is obviously her default protect mode as she has taken care of herself for a long time. She is also fiercely protective of her friends. This girl can dance though and she really wants it. Walking past the Shipley Academy on a daily basis is hard, yes she can weld and yes she is good at it but a dancer is where her heart is.

As Alex (Joanne Clifton) gets on with life her support network of friends encourage her to take the plunge and apply to the academy. Hannah (Carol Ball) her mentor and supporter is fabulous and pushes her to submit the entry. All the time this is going on there is a new guy on the workshop floor. Nick Hurley (Ben Adams). Nick the son of the boss has been sent in to see how the place works, where cuts can be made. He is a good looking guy and soon catches Alex’s attention as she does his, not only is she the best apprentice welder she’s gorgeous with it in his eyes and he makes a play for her. She acts her usual bulshy self and gives him a hard time to start with and then she softens and then they begin to date. She likes him and the places he takes her but insists on being her own person and doing things her way, especially when he offers to speak to a friend on the board at Shipley Hall, she wants and needs to prove herself that she can do it on her own. So many conflicting emotions that resonate with so many women then and now.

Her friends like her are all working as dancers at Harry’s (Rikki Chamberlain) nightclub, the club is struggling to keep open which is not helped by a new club opening CC’S (played by Garry Lee Netley) . They are similar clubs but very different owners, although the girls ‘dance’ in both CC expects more from them. Both Harry and CC are funny with some quick one liners. Harry not only the boss but also a bit of a softie on the quiet looks out for his girls whereas CC looks out for his pocket.

There are some amazing singers & dancers in this show, my eye was caught by (Demmileigh Foster) Tess. Especially in ‘I love Rock n Roll’ absolutely superb.

Alex gets her place at Shipley and she gets the guy. It’s a fab story showing real determination mixed with lots of emotion. The cast are all brilliant with seamless scene changes, amazing dance routines and of course they saved the best to last with a fabulous encore routine that had everyone on their feet and joining in. Add all that to one of the loveliest theatres I’ve ever seen , leaves me with no choice but to say ‘Flashdance (What a Feeling!) Great feelgood show.

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