The New Alexandra Theatre


Pitching the original Flashdance film must have been something of hard sell to production companies back in 1983 when you consider the flimsy story line.

A female welder, romantically involved with her boss, dances at a sleazy bar by night but has a dream to be a classical ballet dancer.

However this is the 80s we are talking about, a time when leg warmers were an essential fashion item and everyone, it seemed, was breaking out in song and dance, ditching their mundane lives to pursue fame and their creative passion.

Passion is the key word here in this stage version of Flashdance as Joanne Clifton, as Alex Owens, continues to extinguish her Strictly Come Dancing shadow. Her dance ability is renowned but with recent stage roles in productions like Thoroughly Modern Millie, her singing voice gets better with every show and she is fast becoming a major force in British musical theatre.

Former A1 boy band star Ben Adams plays Nick Hurley the son of the family owned steel mill, who falls for the raunchy Alex. With such an excellent voice it makes you wonder why he is not more of a household name in the way that Ronan Keating became after the demise of Boyzone.

Together with Miss Clifton the pairing had a very real Disneyesque chemistry between them, creating some very genuine and touching moments especially with their duet Hang On. Adams’ pop delivery was a perfect contrast to Clifton’s musical theatre voice.


Joanne Clifton as Alex Owens. Pictures: Brian Hartley

The show is not without issues as a few clunky moments progress the implausible storyline, but before you can catch your breath to comment, the outstanding and thrilling choreography of Matt Cole simply takes it away.

The show feature dancers at the top of their game covering everything from ballet to street dance and no one put a foot a wrong all night. No one held back either and gave 110 percent in every routine and it showed, it also seemed that everyone could sing.

The energy continued even to the last moments . After the bows and individual stage introductions we were treated to a powerful recap, in song and dance, featuring a dynamic medley of the show’s tunes that lasted for fifteen minutes.

With songs like the inspirational What a Feeling, the electro driven Maniac, Gloria and I Love Rock and Roll it was a signal for the audience to get up and dance into a standing ovation.

Overall the dance performances are of sheer athletic ability and it defies belief that this cast does this every night. In the end the rags to riches story matters not one bit as Clifton and Adams are a delight to watch and listen to and the dynamic choreography pummels you into instantaneous applause after each dance.

The show opens with some real sparks that occasionally fizzle out and at times you feel that things might not ignite but the heat slowly grows and by the end Flashdance burns brighter than a welder’s torch. To 09-12-17

Jeff Grant


Index page Alex Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre