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Flashdance, New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham - review with pictures

By Diane Davies | Entertainment | Published:

Passion, romance, raunchy dance routines and THAT scene – it is no surprise that Flashdance was one of the most successful films of its time.

Nor is it a surprise that Flashdance makes such an easy switch to the stage.

The 1983 film captured the imagination with the unusual story line of feisty young Alex Owens who is a welder by day and an exotic dancer by night, desperate to follow her dream and win a place at an exclusive dance academy.

From here the story follows a slightly more predictable line as girl, with typical hard luck life story, meets a rich fella, an on-off relationship ensures, she meets a wall of snobbery from the school elite and suffers a sad loss that helps her re-evaluate her future.

There is a side story running alongside with her desperate-to-be famous friends Gloria and Jimmy, struggling bar boss Harry and the obligatory bad guy strip club owner CC.

But it is not the storyline that makes this musical such a gem – it is the Matt Cole choreography and the fantastic, absorbing dance routines.

And at the very heart of this magic is Strictly Come Dancing champion Joanne Clifton in the role of Alex. Clearly we knew she could dance and some of the iconic routines would pose no problem for her.

Most of us did not realise she could sing and act – and how good she would be.

Her dances were full of energy and skill, the famous water scene was sexy and sensual.

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But she also had a lovely voice which came to the fore in such numbers as It’s All In Reach, Here and Now with love interest Nick Hurley, played by boy band star Ben Adams, and their duet Hang On.

The lead actors appeared very much at ease together with a natural chemistry between them.

Adams, the former lead singer of the band A1, had a strong, sultry voice and was a likeable Nick, if not much of a dancer.

Clifton’s convincing performance demonstrated the many contradictions of the character Alex – as a woman in a man’s world but vulnerable and in fear of rejection. As tough and independent, but caring and looking for love, young but older than her years.

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There were many treats for fans of the eighties with such favourites as What a Feeling (of course), Mania, Gloria and a somewhat provocative version of I Love Rock and Roll.

All in the auditorium rose to their feet at the end to ‘dance right through their life’ or to the end of the night anyway.

Flashdance the Musical – What a Feeling! And you can have it all, take your passion and make it happen – by heading along to the New Alexandra Theatre.

Runs until Saturday.

Diane Davies

By Diane Davies
@@didavies_star

MNA Group head of weekly titles, and former deputy editor of the Express & Star. Specialist interest in music and theatre scene with regular reviews from our wealth of top venues.

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