Review: “When Clifton starts to dance and you can feel a ripple of excitement reverberate around the auditorium” ★★★★ Flashdance – The Musical, New Wimbledon Theatre

If you yearn for the days of sudden saxophone solos, double denim and leg warmers, you won’t go far wrong with the new production of Flashdance, which will well and truly yank you back to the joys of the 80s.

Flashdance – The Musical is based on the 1983 film, which gained cult status mostly due to its iconic soundtrack – including the academy award-winning song “Flashdance…What a Feeling” – and raunchy dance routines.

Get ready for an enormous dose of cheese, but performed with so much energy and passion that you can forgive the superficial nature of the story and just wallow in the joyful exuberance of a high energy and thoroughly entertaining night out.

And one of the main reasons for the show being so watchable is its leading lady Joanne Clifton, who plays the steel worker-come-nightclub performer Alex Owens.

The former world showdance champion and current Strictly Come Dancing winner, shows her mettle, with a really breathtaking performance. You can’t watch anything else when Clifton starts to dance and you can feel a ripple of excitement reverberate around the auditorium. Her singing’s not bad either and fits well with costar Ben Adams’ classic pop vocals.

The supporting cast is also pretty good and Matt Coles’ choreography keeps an 80s air, without it feeling outdated. There are also some good comedy turns from Sasha Latoya as the sarcastic care worker and Rikki Chamberlain as the hapless club owner Harry, while Hollie-Ann Lowe puts in a great performance as the tragic Gloria.

This isn’t a show for anyone looking for any theatrical depth, but if you’re after a fun and frivolous night immersed in the 80s, you’re on to a winner with Flashdance – The Musical.

Flashdance – The Musical is running at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 7 October and at the Orchard Theatre Dartford from 9 – 14 October

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Singer-songwriter Ben Adams takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

After gaining worldwide fame in the 1990s with boyband A1 and accruing numerous accolades including a Brit award, Ben Adams made the move to songwriting. As well as writing hits for other artists, Ben has written a new musical called Eugenius, which was showcased at the London Palladium and will open in the West End early next year.

His celebrity status has also meant he has courted the reality television circuit and came fifth in the 2009 series of Celebrity Big Brother and second in the Norwegian version of Strictly Come Dancing, an achievement which will stand him in good stead for his latest role, opposite Strictly champion Joanne Clifton in Flashdance the Musical.

The show opens in Glasgow this week before embarking on a nationwide tour and Ben took some time off from rehearsals to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

What are you currently working on?

Flashdance the Musical.

What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful? 

Music.

What is your favourite Book?

I haven’t read a book since I was 15!

What are you currently watching on TV? 

The Handmaid’s Tale

Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out? 

Theatre

What’s your favourite sweet? 

Fizzy Cola Bottles

What did you want to be when you were a child? 

Only ever a singer

What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child? 

I drew a smiley face for my mum on her new chocolate brown carpet with toothpaste.

What is your proudest achievement to date? 

Winning a Brit Award

What’s next? 

I have a solo album coming out in January and Eugenius is on in March next year.

Flashdance the Musical opens this week at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow and will visit the New Wimbledon Theatre from 2 – 7 October 

Flashdance star Joanne Clifton Takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

After winning the 2016 series of Strictly Come Dancing with Ore Oduba, Joanne Clifton took on the title role in the touring production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. The change to a career in musical theatre is something the performer has always wanted and following the success of the show, Joanne is once again taking to the stage to lead a new production of Flashdance the Musical.

Based on the classic 1980s film, the stage show follows a young welder who longs to be a dancer. Former World Ballroom Showdance Champion, Joanne will play the iconic role alongside Ben Adams when the musical tours the UK.

Joanne took some time off from rehearsals to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

What are you currently working on?

Flashdance The Musical

What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful? 

My parent’s advice

What is your favourite Book?

I haven’t got a favourite book but I’ve got a favourite writer, Michael Connelly.

What are you currently watching on TV? 

Love Island, but it’s just finished.

Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out? 

Theatre

What’s your favourite sweet? 

Iced Gems, but I don’t know if they do them anymore.

What did you want to be when you were a child? 

A lorry driver. I wanted to take mushrooms around in a lorry. I’d designed my own lorry; it was white with a blue mushroom saying Joanne’s Mushrooms.

What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child? 

I wasn’t that naughty, Kevin was the naughty one. I got told off because I got up, put the bath on and then went back to bed. It flooded the whole house.

What is your proudest achievement to date? 

Probably winning the World Championship but also becoming Strictly champion

What’s next? 

I have two shows lined up but I can’t say anything about them yet.

Flashdance the Musical begins a tour of the UK this week. You can find details of the venues and dates on the website http://www.flashdanceuktour.co.uk

Nicky’s Showbiz Diary: Water, Water everywhere

There has been an abundance of water everywhere this week and I’m not just talking about the typical August torrential rain.

After the water tank split in the loft at the beginning of the week and the living room suffered a slow seepage of yellowy liquid through the ceiling, we were without hot water for a couple of days. This meant my only way to have a shower was to go to the gym. Now, I have been trying to get fit again recently (having lost years of fitness after changing from a career as a fitness instructor to the life of a deskbound journalist), but having to visit everyday (twice on Monday) just to make sure I was clean enough to ingratiate myself with local dignitaries, was a bit much even for me.

Luckily my London digs had a fully functioning water supply, so I was able to maintain my exemplary personal hygiene once I’d made my weekly commute to the capital.

And it was a good job too, as I had a really busy week of networking to fit in, despite the sometimes monsoon like weather conditions.

My first stop was to have a tour of the Bob Hope Theatre in Eltham. I last visited the lovely little venue in June for their production of Sand Castles and was thrilled to be invited along to see their structural improvements and to hear about the plans for further refurbishment over the summer. I was also allowed to drop in on a rehearsal for their next production – Monty Python’s Spamalot  – which sounded amazing and I can’t wait to see.

After a hectic morning in the London office, I then ventured out to Kensington to watch a rehearsal of Flashdance – a new touring production of the musical adaptation – which starts a national tour in Glasgow this week. The show stars former Strictly Come Dancing champion Joanne Clifton and 90s pop star Ben Adams. I got a chance to chat with them both and they were lovely. In fact, I’m a little bit in love with Ben. From the scene I saw – which included the famous water drop sequence – the show looks good too.

 

I then popped into central London to see The Blues Brothers Summer Special at the Hippodrome Casino. I have to say, it wasn’t really my cup of tea, but with lots of summer hits and beach vibes, it was nonetheless a good show.

I finished off the week in Lyme Regis at the Marine Theatre. I consider ‘The Little Theatre by the Sea’ to be my home venue, as it’s where I first performed as a teenager and it’s the place I credit with igniting my love of theatre. With it’s proximately to the sea, there’s nowhere quite like it and the homely ambience evokes such happy memories.

Next week I’m finally of to see Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour at the Duke of York Theatre and I’m heading to the Phoenix Theatre to see Evita (starring fabulous former green witch Emma Hatton). I’m also really excited to go to the launch of the New Wimbledon Theatre’s autumn season, which promises to be starry.

I’m also preparing for a new challenge as the entertainment reporter for the Sunday Independent newspaper. I’ll be covering theatre across the Southwest, so if you have any shows coming up, do get in touch.

You can follow me on Twitter for all the latest news @NickySweetland

Joanne Clifton and Ben Adams to star in new production of Flashdance – The Musical

Flashdance – The Musical returns to the UK for the first time since 2011 starring Strictly favourite Joanne Clifton and singer-songwriter Ben Adams.

Strictly Come Dancing Champion Joanne Clifton is no stranger to being at the top, as she is also a World & European Champion ballroom dancer, and is one of very few pro dancers to have won both the main Strictly glitter ball with Ore Oduba last year and the Christmas Special in 2015 with Harry Judd.

Joanne made her musical theatre debut in the role of Streetwalker in the UK premiere of the Irving Berlin musical Face The Music, for which she was nominated for an Off West End Award. She followed this up with a turn as Marilyn Monroe in the Norma Jeane Musical and then tread the boards as Millie Dillmount in the No. 1 UK Tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie for which she garnered rave reviews.

She is now excited to take on her latest starring role as Alex Owens in the UK Tour of Flashdance. Joanne says,

“This is just another dream come true! I think everyone in the world whether dancer or non-dancer, as soon as they hear ‘What a Feeling’, remember that iconic scene at the end of the film and I’m so incredibly lucky that I get to do that every night in a UK TOUR along with fabulous numbers like “She’s a Maniac.” I’m over the moon! It’s another amazing opportunity in my musical theatre career and I can once again sing and act alongside dancing! I just hope the water’s not too cold when it falls on me!’

Ben Adams who will join Joanne on stage as Nick Hurley has been singing and performing since the age of 8. His career started as head chorister at St. Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey, singing at royal weddings, touring all over Europe, recording 2 classical albums and frequently singing for the likes of the Queen and the Pope.

At 16, he became the lead singer of the band a1, who racked up 10 million record sales, 2 UK number ones, 5 studio albums and toured throughout the world, winning a Brit award among many others.

When the band split, Ben took to the studio and is now a successful song writer and producer, working with the likes of Robin Thicke, Craig David, JLS, Ward Thomas, Sam Bailey, Boyzone and Alexandra Burke to name but a few. He also reached the final of Celebrity Big Brother, the Norwegian version of Strictly Come Dancing, and Master Chef in Denmark. As well as writing for other artists, he went straight to number 1 in the itunes charts with his classical album titled One Beautiful Mourning. His first solo album 1981 will be launched early 2018.

In 2010, A1 reformed and having successfully completed stadium tours in Asia and 68 sold out arena concerts across Europe, they starred in The Big Reunion on ITV2 and played arenas across the country.  They continue to tour throughout the world.

Ben has also written a brand-new musical called ‘EUGENIUS!’ Which after a sold-out London Palladium performance, is set to hit the West End stage next year.

Ben says of taking to the stage in Flashdance:

“It’s amazing to be part of such an iconic story, and as an 80’s child I was brought up on this music so I couldn’t be happier playing Nick in the theatre production of Flashdance. Whilst I continue with my own music career and touring with a1, Musical Theatre has always been a real passion of mine, so to be asked to play this role, and to be working with such an amazing cast and crew is a real honour. I look forward to seeing you all out on the road in the coming months”

Additional cast includes: Colin, Kiyani, Rikki Chamberlain, Garry Lee Netley, Carol Ball, Sia Dauda, Hillie Ann Lowe, Simeon Beckett, Rhodri Watkins, Demmileigh Foster, Emily Kenwright, Ameila Rose Fielding, Alex Christian, Matt Concannon

Flashdance – The Musical tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of 18-year-old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, who dreams of going to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and becoming a professional dancer. When a romance complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream.

Producers are promising audiences will be blown away with an astonishing musical spectacle and phenomenal choreography to the iconic score, which includes the smash hits “Maniac, Manhunt”, “Gloria”, “I Love Rock & Roll” and the award-winning title track “Flashdance – What a Feeling”.

Based on the Paramount Pictures film (Screenplay by Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas, story by Tom Hedley) Flashdance is an inspiring musical about the power of holding onto your dreams and love against all odds. Flashdance proved a hit with audiences, and remained in the Top 10 Box Office in the States for 15 weeks after release. The original score also proved hugely popular, with the soundtrack album selling 700,000 copies within two weeks of release. The platinum selling hit title track “Flashdance – What A Feeling” won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 1983, with the soundtrack winning the Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special in 1984.

Flashdance will open in Glasgow on 4 August before embarking on a UK tour with visits to Wimbledon, Woking and Dartford all on the schedule. For full details of tour venues and dates, visit www.flashdanceuktour.co.uk