Flashdance – Review – Bradford Alhambra
By @Steve Crabtree, April 2018
For an 80’s obsessive like myself, Flashdance the musical is a bit of a treat. As it lands at Bradford Alhambra, there’s no way I was ever going to miss out on this one. And as a fan of the film, I have a fairly high expectation of the stage version.
Pre-show, there’s a buzz around the place. An excited atmosphere, conjured up by the heavily female orientated audience. And as the ever-recognisable pink and glittery Flashdance logo raises from the stage, we’re thrown in to a frenzy of exciting, exuberant music and dance routines.
Joanne Clifton (Strictly Come Dancing) plays the lead role Alex Owens, and if her first dance steps are anything to go by, she’s going to lose a few pounds by the end of the show.
“Nigh on perfect”
It’s Pittsburgh, 1983. Alex is a female welder at Hurley’s steelworks, and her desire to become a dancer is immeasurable. Encouraged by friends Gloria (Hollie-Ann Lowe), Kiki (Sia Dauda) and Tess (Demmileigh Foster) who she dances with in Harry’s club, she yearns to go that one step further.
Leading male, Nick Hurley, is played by Ben Adams, formerly of boy-band A1. And a very handsome chap he is too… put it this way, he’s a hit with the ladies. Throughout the show Hurley for the most part seems an honest guy. However, he can’t help using his of powers of authority and his powers of money. He falls for Alex, and it takes time for her to fall for him. Clifton and Adams work well together in the roles, affection and tension nicely played. Vocally, they’re something else with their duets of ‘Here and Now’ and ‘Hang On’ nigh on perfect.
“The number of the night”
All the upbeat and high-tempo songs you know Flashdance for are here too. ‘What A Feeling’, ‘Gloria’ and ‘Maniac’ please the Yorkshire crowd, and Demmileigh Foster, playing the role of Tess is worthy of a special mention. Her powerful version of ‘I Love Rock n Roll’ is the number of the night for me, accompanied with some impressive, dominating dance moves. Very much one of the stand out performers in an incredibly strong cast.
Rikki Chamberlain’s portrayal of Harry was enjoyable too and deserves praise. Bringing the humour aspect in to the character, Chamberlain also makes us laugh during his stint as one of the welders who pokes fun at Hurley when his lust for Owens looks to be failing.
“Lycra, leg-warmers and double-denim”
The industrial steelworks stage set up is great. And it transforms easily to become the neon-ridden, bright light club scene. And there’s a tip of the hat to some special choreography that’s set up for this one. We’ve got a cast who are certainly busting a gut and earning their crust tonight.
It’s lycra, leg-warmers and double-denim. And if you don’t know Flashdance you won’t know that there’s a spectacular dance number that everyone’s waiting for. When it does come, Joanne Clifton doesn’t leave us disappointed. And by the end of the show the theatre are on their feet dancing as the classic numbers from the film come out once more.
It’s been a thrilling start to the five night run at the Alhambra, and I leave with my expectation nicely fulfilled. If opening night is anything to go by, it’s going to be a great, time-capsule led rest of the week.