The Orchard Theatre Dartford is home to 80s hit Flashdance this week, starring Joanne Clifton and Ben Adams. This adaption of the iconic film is bound to be a hit with Flashdance fans with enough leg warmers to last through to next summer! What the show lacks in technical professionalism it makes up for in dance expertise and once again puts Strictly star Joanne Clifton in a role she can truly call her own.
Flashdance sees welder and wannabe dancer Alex Owens dreams of another life as a professional dancer. With impending job cuts at the factory, Alex gets the chance to audition for the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy, but will a new romance give her an advantage she hasn’t worked for or help her to pursue her dreams.
The music and story is more than enough to make this show a great night at the theatre, with some well-known eighties hits and plenty of action. The set is inventive with the space with projection screens to help portray different locations. Unfortunately the technical aspects let this show down which is disappointing for a professional tour. Many microphones come up too late and lines are missed, as well as dodgy lighting cues which result in the cast either standing in the dark or wrong parts of the stage being lit. The positioning of the set is sometimes noisy and distracting too.
Of course, the choreography is the shining light in this show and Matthew Cole’s vision is brought to life by a talented cast of dancers. Plenty of tricks and 80s moves that are right crowd-pleasers! One small disappointment was the audition at the end – Joanne could have held the whole song and dance alone but the ensemble were thrown in to dance around her. The ‘megamix’ at the end rounds off the show nicely enough and Joanne’s solo would have had much more impact to the story if she was alone until the end.
Fresh from Thoroughly Modern Millie, Joanne Clifton slots right into this new UK tour and has recently announced she’ll prolonging her stay into 2018. Joanne yet again proves herself as a credible musical theatre performer. A celebrity who is truly a triple threat – there’s few of those around! She needs a little work on her diction at times, however her talent and character is unquestionable. Ben Adam’s voice is a little too ‘boy band’ for the role of Nick Hurley. He needs some proper theatre training, although his acting is nice.
Overall Flashdance lives up to the name and gives you a night of brilliant dance and entertainment. The technical side needs tightening up but Joanne Clifton is a revelation as Alex, and a strong supporting cast makes this show an eighties smash!
Photo credit: Brian Hartley