Flashdance at the Orchard Theatre
Flashdance is the musical based on the 1980’s film of the same name. Welder and wannabe dancer Alex is finally convinced to audition for prestigious dance school Shipley by her friends and mentor Hannah. Her boss, Nick Hurley is also fighting his own battles including winning over Alex and how to avoid laying off people at the steelworks.
This is a show where the focus is given away in the title. That’s clearly dancing and by casting Joanne Clifton of Strictly fame this isn’t something they have shyed away from and it is all the better for it. Choreographed by Matt Cole he has pitched it nicely at original 1980’s moves with many nods to the movie but thrown in fresh ideas to keep it current. It is not only Clifton who wows with the dancing. Her fellow club dancers Gloria (Hollie-Ann Lowe), Kiki (Sia Dauda) and Tess (Demmileigh Foster) also up the ante dance wise. Highlights included the Pasodoble style dance and ‘I Love Rock and Roll.’ The latter did nothing to forward the plot but I didn’t care!!
The plot of Flashdance was simple and often predictable but there were tender moments and relationships, both between Alex and Nick and Alex and her mentor Hannah. The singing was not as strong as the dance but the numbers were enjoyable and fun. The musical numbers range from classics from the film such as ‘Maniac’ and ‘What A Feeling’ to original numbers. However there were issues relating to diction and I often struggled to understand what the cast were singing. This was compounded by the fact that the sound balance was slightly off with the band drowning out the vocals at times. Ben Adams of A1 ‘fame’ played the part of Nick Hurley and his vocals left you in no doubt that he was once in a boy band!
The show on a whole was designed well. The costumes were another highlight. The 1980’s style that the ensemble dancers were dressed in were bright and fun and contrasted nicely to the pastel coloured costumes that the ballet dancers were dressed in. The set itself is built around a scaffolding structure, reminding the audience of the steelworks yet transported the audience quickly and easily from scene to scene.
Flashdance is a fun, dancetastic night at the theatre. You can’t help not mind when they break into yet another dance number that doesn’t further the plot, in fact I kept on hoping they would do it again!
To find out more about the show and check out its other venues visit the website here.