Theatre Review: FLASHDANCE – Palace Theatre, Manchester

Big, bold and bright, FLASHDANCE boasts all the pulling power of the original film

Dust off the legwarmers and grab those hair crimpers, the eighties are back in all of their neon tinted glory as FLASHDANCE heads to town.

Based on the 1983 Oscar-winning film starring Jennifer Beals and Michael Nouri, FLASHDANCE tells the story of 18-year-old Alex Owens, a steel worker by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night. Dreaming of becoming a professional dancer, Alex plucks up the courage to apply to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy with encouragement from her boss/boyfriend Nick Hurley.

Bright, bold and incredibly energetic, FLASHDANCE boasts all the pulling power of the original film and an impressive cast performance to match. With its industrial style set, slick scene changes and digital projections, director Hannah Chissick captures the spirit of the movie, while Matt Cole’s elaborate and high octane choreography mirrors the film’s power and energy.

Joanne Clifton steals the show as Alex, capturing the zest and drive of the feisty 18-year old. The former STRICTLY COME DANCING champion not only has the killer moves but a killer voice to match, handling both the elaborate dance routines and meatier musical numbers with ease.

Ben Adams and the cast of FLASHDANCE. Photography by Brian Hartley

Ben Adams of 90s boyband A1 equally impresses as Nick Hurley, the boy caught between family business and the greater good of his workforce, although the hidden on-stage band overpowers both Adams and Clifton’s vocals at times, making it difficult to hear their voices.

Those who have seen the film will know that the plot is a little thin on the ground and lacks any real depth or heart. The addition of a few side stories involving best friend Gloria, wannabe comedian Jimmy and struggling club owner Harry, also means that none of the storylines are explored too deeply and the side characters never really have chance to shine.

That said, no-one is really here for the plot, they are here for the big song and dance numbers which certainly don’t disappoint with musical director George Carter capturing the exuberance sound of the 1980s and familiar hits like MANIAC, GLORIA, I LOVE ROCK AND ROLL and WHAT A FEELING all going down well with the audience.

If you like your eighties big, bold and bright, FLASHDANCE is sure to appeal. A crowd-pleasing stage adaptation of the iconic eighties film.

4 out of 5 stars

FLASHDANCE runs at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until 17 February 2018.