Last night myself and my theatre buddy headed into Cardiff to check out the latest show at New Theatre. Flashdance is one of my favourite 80’s movies and I was keen to see how it would transition to stage.
The story follows Alex, a young woman who works as a welder and a dancer in a nightclub. She longs to be a professional dancer and her dream is to join a famous ballet school, yet she lacks the professional training usually required for such a course. When she falls for rich and well known Nick she begins to see the stark contrast between the struggles within her own life and the easy riding life of her affluent and privately educated counterparts…
The story started straight away as we see Alex’s interest in ballet school and her life/work balance in the opening scene. I thought it was a hectic opening, with a lot going on, so if you’re not 100% familiar with the story it may be a little confusing.
The set is very interactive, with a lot of scene changes and props to bring the 80’s vibe to life. The costume is also well thought out, bright and very in-keeping with the times; I really love the 80’s so the visual elements were a delight!
Alex is played by Joanne Clifton, who gives the character a quirky, almost Doris Day feel. In my opinion, this Alex is far from the one in the movie, with a lot of smiling and quirky jokes, as well as a bit more of an energetic personality. Since I’m a fan of the film I think I prefer the more serious Alex we see in the movie, but it is good to see a different take on the role.
I felt the first act was quite manic, and at times voices were lost within the music. I did think the performance of I Love Rock and Roll was incredibly powerful and the audience seemed to love it! I also adored Justice performed by Nick and the steel workers; the harmonies were perfect, the writing was great and it was a very comical performance! Rhodri Watkins performed as Andy and I really loved his voice and overall performance, you could tell he was giving it 110%.
The first act ended with quite a rushed version of the iconic water scene, where Alex pours water onto herself during a late night performance. This was a little disappointing, but I was keen to see how the second act would play out…
For me, the second act felt a little more solid and well rehearsed, and I was blown away by several performances. Firstly, Alex and Nick’s duet of Here and Now was really lovely, their harmonies worked really well and drew me into their story. Nick was performed by Ben Adams and he had a great presence on stage, and his adoration of Alex was clear.
For me, the character that stood out the most was Gloria. Gloria was performed by Hollie-Ann Lowe and her performance was perfect. Her character was vulnerable and sweet, and her voice made me very emotional indeed. I felt Gloria was a very strong character, and her storyline offered the dark and gritty side to this story; this was my favourite part of the stage version of the story, because it felt real. Gloria’s boyfriend was performed by Colin Kiyani, and I liked his portrayal of the soft and confused Jimmy, who returns to Gloria at the end of the story.
It was great to hear all the 80’s tunes from the original soundtrack come to life on stage, and I thought the cast had a lot of energy. For me, the stage show is nothing like the movie, and I think it’s important to see them as two separate entities.
Flashdance is a must-see if you love the 80’s vibe (who doesn’t?!) and if you fancy a little boogie, but comparing it to the movie would be a mistake.
Flashdance is running until 10th February and tickets start from £16.50.