Review: Flashdance at MK Theatre

Clifton is the ‘star act’ in Flashdance

 

Flashdance is one of many 1980’s movies that have gone from screen to stage but arguably it should have stuck to the big screen as the stage revival which visits MK Theatre this week does little to wow the audiences.

Producers have cleverly eyed the title as a winner with bums on seats to capitalise on the dance show boom.  Added to this some star casting, particularly with Strictly Champion Joanne Clifton in the lead role of Alex Owens, and it was little surprise that the venue was packed out on a warm summers night, but I fear few would have gone away recommending.

The show tells the story of Alex Owens who works by day in a steel mill and dances in a bar at night.  She longs for a full time performing career and backed by the support of boss Nick Hurley (Ben Adams) and mentor Hanna Long (Carol Ball) that ultimately becomes a reality.

Clifton is quite rightly the star of the show in this production with slick choreography that impresses and when also backed by the ensemble we are treated to some great routines, sadly they are too few and far between across the show.  The script is light and far too predictable.  Adams vocals are unsurprisingly tinged with a boyband tone and are pleasant to listen to, but the overall role gives Adams little chance to show off any acting skills and at times it feels a bit like he is going through the motions.  Special mentions should go to Colin Kyani who plays the role of Jimmy with a great likeability and Ball who puts in a sound performance as Hannah.

Ultimately the casting of this show isn’t necessarily weak – it just doesn’t translate to stage.  The clunky set and placing of the band at the back of the stage does little to help either as it leaves little performance space for key dance numbers which is really needed for a true spectacle.  There’s a heavy reliance on the use the two sets of stairs to add height to the piece and it all gets very predictable.  The set is also grim in dark shades of gray.  Thankfully the dance pieces are awash with colourful costumes to finally breathe a feel of the 80’s into the show.

True fans will most probably still find something to enjoy from this touring show, but for me it just didn’t work.

Flashdance is performed at MK Theatre until Saturday 21st July 2018.  Tickets are available via www.atgtickets.com

Richard Beeby

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