BWW Review: FLASHDANCE, Theatre Royal Brighton
What a feeling! What an evening! The 80s film-musical adaption trend is alive and well. In addition to Fame, Footloose and more, fans of the iconic poppy music era can catch the 1983 classic Flashdance during its current UK tour, which currently plays the Theatre Royal in Brighton.
Tom Hedley, the screenwriter, first adapted the script for stage in 2008, enlisting Robert Cary to help hone the story of Alex Owens (mechanic apprentice and aspiring dancer) - with additional music from Cary and Robbie Roth to complement the feast of 80s hits from the film soundtrack.
Joanne Clifton is breathtaking as Alex Owens. She truly does "dance like she's never danced before" and finely portrays Alex's fiery temperament as she fights to make her dancing dreams come true. Ben Adams plays romantic interest (and factory boss) Nick Hurley with style and a smoothness that echoes his boyband roots.
Hollie Ann Lowe portrays Alex's dancer friend Gloria with a sweet innocence as she strives to make it, no matter what it takes. Colin Kiyani plays opposite her as a new character written for the stage show, Jimmy Kaminsky, a hapless but loveable chap who dreams of a career in comedy.
Matthew Cole's jaw-dropping choreography shows off the cast in back-to-back pop hits. Takis's clever set design seamlessly fits together in different combinations to provide distinctly different multi-level platforms for the story to unfold.
The costumes (supervised by Shoni Wilkinson) are appropriately bright and loud to reflect the time period. Andrew Ellis's lighting design is dramatic, with the bright blue, pink and orange hues we so often associate with the 80s - much like his design for Eugenius, another 80s-themed show part written by Adams and others which recently played at The Other Palace.
The odd late spotlight made it difficult to know who to look for on stage at times, and on occasions the actors couldn't be heard over the ensemble (led by Mark Crossland).
Despite a slightly overindulgent megamix finale, Flashdance is a treat for the eyes and the ears and an exciting stage adaption. Different in some ways from the film, it still contains many elements - such as the iconic dance routine where Alex is drenched in water - for fans of the classic.
Photo credit: Theatre Royal Brighton