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Review: Flashdance: The Musical at Bridlington Spa

Flashdance, the musical. Kings Theatre, Glasgow. 5th August 2017
Flashdance, the musical. Kings Theatre, Glasgow. 5th August 2017

What a feeling – audiences are left with after more than two hours of non-stop song and dance. It can be summed up as breathless awe.

The energy, the moves and the music – thumping rock and disco – are stunning.

Flashdance: The Musical is loud, proud, sexy and sensational.

The cast – led by Strictly Come Dancing Champion Joanne Clifton – only stop for breath to deliver a few lines of pithy script.

Clifton throws off the sequins and silks, casts away the ballroom and latin to don leotard and denims to grind and gryate rather than glide across the stage.

She sings every bit as excellently as she dances and excels as the pocket rocket that is the tomboy Alex – the heroine of the piece.

Alex is a welder – a woman in a man’s world – at a factory in Pittsburg – by day and an exotic dancer at a down-at-heel club by night.

She dreams of going legit as a dancer and attending the Shipley Academy. First, knowing she has no qualifications, she has to pass the auditions.

She is mentored by her dance teacher and mother-figure Hannah – and distracted by her rich boyfriend and son of factory owner Nick.

As well as being a high-energy musical, this is the classic girl from the wrong side of the tracks meets spoiled rich boy – a study of the American class system and industrial decline.

Though written and set in the 1980s, the story now in the Trump era and his agenda to resurrect the ‘Rust Bowl’ echoes meaning down the decades.

It is those themes and a script that is sassy and intelligent that elevates the show from simply being a collection of dance routines – however inventive, fast and furious.

It is a credit to everyone of the cast that they imbue their character with individuality.

Clifton plays against type as the tough, wise-cracking Alex. She has an excellent leading man in former boy band member Ben Adams – who plays an earnest and caring Nick.

Carol Ball anchors the piece with her aging and wise Hannah. Sasha Latoya plays her carer/companion Louise and together they are a funny double act – a touch of the Driving Miss Daisy in their relationship.

There are great cameos from Colin Kiyani as wannabee stand-up Jimmy, Rikki Chamberlain as club owner Harry and Matt Concannon as his menacing rival CC.

Hollie-Ann Lowe stops the show with a heart-felt rendition of Gloria – a song about the dancer, and woman, who is always out of step with every one else.

Other songs include the belter I love Rock and Roll, the ear-throbbing, body-popping Maniac, the sexy Chameleon Girls and the erotic, exotic Manhunt.

But it’s the best known song of all – What A Feeling – that sets the heart-beating, the feet-tapping and the hands-clapping.

As is the way with most reboots of musicals, the finale is a reprise of the best bits.

Members of the audience have the chance to get up on their feet and chant I Love Rock and Roll and dance and sing What A Feeling back to the cast.

A cast which gave it everything – great performances, amazing dance routines, sensational singing and their hearts and souls to bring Alex’s story of love and ambition to glorious life.

Flashdance is on at Bidlington Spa until Saturday March 17. Performances are daily at 7.30pm plus matineeson Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets: 01262 678258.