September 27th || Bethan Shuff
In a world made of steel, made of stone, will Alex Owens ever reach her dream of becoming a dancer, despite her lack of professional training? This week at The Regent Theatre, the classic 80’s film Flashdance is being recreated on stage and you don’t want to miss it.
Alex Owens, played by Strictly Come Dancing champion, Joanne Clifton, works in Hurley’s steel mill, but dreams of performing and getting a scholarship at a top dance academy. Clifton plays a very powerful lead role; a strong-headed, empowering female front with a dry sense of humour that leaves you giggling throughout the show with her sarcasm.
Flashdance takes you back to the 80’s with its iconic fashion, from leg warmers to mom jeans – It’ll make you want to dig through your parent’s wardrobe. It all captures the era perfectly.
We first get to see Clifton show off her dancing as she whips off the mom jeans to reveal a classic dance costume of hot pants and sports bra for ‘She’s A Maniac’; a dance routine every 70’s and 80’s kid has tried to re-enact in their living room.
Alex Owens’ boss, rich, pretty boy Nick Hurley played by A1 singer Ben Adams, falls for Alex and sees her potential, and uses his Hurley influence to secure her audition at Shipley’s Dance Academy. Being accepted onto reputable performance scholarships is something performers all over the world feel the pressures of, and know the feeling all too well. Even now, over 30 years on, it’s still a relevant and relatable story line.
All of the performers were so in-sync with each other and the choreography was perfect. All the classic moves from the film incorporated into the choreo and the live band gave such an energetic and charismatic platform for the singers to shine. Kiki, Tess and Gloria, played by Sia Dauda, Demmileigh Foster and Hollie-Ann Lowe all have phenomenal vocals that complement each other and can be both powerful in their solo pieces and subtle in the background of scenes. Impressive lifts and couple work are stunning to watch as the girls are flung about; Joanne Clifton’s Strictly training must have come in handy.
It’s not just Alex that has stress in this musical though; Nick needs to make financial cuts at the mill, resulting in some of Alex’s friends jobs hanging in the balance. Jimmy wants to go to New York and make it as a comedian, leaving poor Gloria behind, who leaves Harry’s classier bar to work at seady CC’s and gets into some nasty habits. Harry, played by Rikki Chamberlain, was portrayed wonderfully. Rikki’s acting was natural and effortless, creating such a lovely, fatherly kind of character to the girls, despite having his own issues with the club and business. Can normality be restored for all?
Alex may doubt herself in a series of unfortunate events, but she knows ‘it’s better to leap and fall than to never leap at all’ – can a welder, with no professional dance training, really get into one of the leading Performance schools with her three-minute audition piece? Find out. Watch Flashdance at The Regent Theatre this week from 25-30 September.