REVIEW: Flashdance at the New Wimbledon Theatre

4 October 2017

'As far as eighties bonanzas go, Flashdance has got to be up there with the best of them.'

True, it cannot compete with Dirty Dancing for sequins and sparkle, but there is real gutsy glamour in the juxtaposition of the grimy, seedy backdrops and the dazzling dancing. The musical makes the most of this captivating dichotomy; almost all staging and props are made of uncompromisingly grim industrial metal, while the dancers themselves pop in lurid spandex and vivid face paint.

Matt Cole’s choreography is slick and beautiful; everywhere you look somebody is doing something astonishing with their legs, and props and scenery are shifted by the actors themselves as part of the action, often while somebody is dancing on them. Not only can these guys dance, but they can sing too; Joanne
Clifton, in full Doris Day mode as perky Alex, particularly raised the roof. Hollie-Ann Lowe as vulnerable Gloria, and Matt Concannon, deeply sinister as club-owner CC, almost stole the show with their heart-rending side-story. All actors play several roles, shifting seamlessly between characters and costumes.

Add to this some superb lighting effects and a series of zingy tunes, and you have all the elements of a great show. All the classics are there – What A Feeling, Maniac and Gloria have the audience toe-tapping from the beginning – but the new tunes also have the essential feel-good, eighties factor. When the inevitable reprise happened, during the curtain call, the audience leapt to their feet and cheered, danced and stamped. Everybody left the theatre smiling and laughing – no mean feat for a chilly autumn Tuesday night. An evening of wonderful, ridiculous fun. - **** Genni Trickett, London Theatre 1

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