Fashion, film and now theatre have all fallen under the spell of the 80’s revival as Flashdance, the latest film adaptation, breaks, body-pops and thrusts it’s way into The Shaftesbury Theatre. Emulating the 80’s soundtrack, Flashdance has been clever enough to throw a few chart hits into the mix, providing welcome musical respite from the pedestrian ballads that litter the score.
Long on gags and short on humour, this is formulaic fare, and harbours no pretensions towards high art
Of the film, it is the dance sequences that we remember, and here Flashdance is anything but pedestrian. Where this show excels is in Arlene Phillips’ inventive, energised choreography. The talented ensemble give it everything in dance numbers that seamlessly blend classical choreography with street moves. Victoria Hamiliton-Barrit is a real discovery in the lead role, but there is no chemistry between her gutsy Alex and Matt Willis’ insecure, twitchy performance as Nick.
The transparent plot never seems certain where the tension is, indeed never develops any, meandering through several clichés toward the inevitable finale. Long on gags and short on humour, this is formulaic fare, and harbours no pretensions towards high art; but why should it? It knows its place; mindless undemanding fun. But it is a shame that this talented cast were not given better material to work with. As a dance show, Flashdance could have been explosive, as a musical it’s a bit of a damp squib.
** (2 stars)
Booking until 26th February 2011