Thursday, 5 October 2017

REVIEW: Flashdance at the New Wimbledon Theatre

Based on the 1983 film, Flashdance first made its way onto our local stages back in 2008 with a UK tour of the show, starring musical theatre legend Victoria Hamilton-Barritt and the late Bernie Nolan. It transferred into London’s West End in 2010, again featuring Ms Hamilton-Barritt, at the Shaftesbury Theatre before closing after 16 weeks. Since then we have seen a US tour production and many international ones, this time Sell-a-Door production have brought it back to the UK. I wish they hadn't. 

This show lacked any style or vision, nothing was interesting or different. A boring concept which I’m sure anyone with the amateur rights to the show will do exactly the same. Possibly to a higher standard. 

The choreography of the show, which is meant to be the highlight, was instead predictable and uninspiring. Just because you add in lots of girls doing splits in different positions, doesn’t mean I’m going to be interested. In fact, it means the total opposite. 

The design by Takis, who I usually love, was tedious and low budget looking. The constant pushing and pulling around got boring. 

A few numbers in this show were also mimed, I’m not sure why. But this was obvious and disappointing. 

Joanne Clifton leads the cast as Alex Ownes, and even though her voice is good her diction wasn’t therefore I couldn’t understand anything she was singing. Her portrayal was on one level and I couldn’t feel anything for the character. 

Ben Adams was one of the better elements of this production, his vocals may have been more 90s boyband than musical theatre but he was one of the more bearable aspects of the show. 

As the miss-guided Gloria, Hollie-Ann Lowe gave a lack lustre performance. Although her vocals and dancing were good the role relies heavily on the acting skills, of which she lacked. 

Sia Dauda as Kiki is a stunning dancer however, again, doesn’t have the acting skills to be in a role like this. 

Demmileigh Foster gives a brilliant performance as Tess, reminiscent of a young
Victoria Hamilton-Barritt. I was drawn to her whenever she was on stage, she was far more interesting than what was happening in the middle of the action.

Colin Kiyani gives stunning vocals as Jimmy, its just a shame some of the heavy storylines from the original UK production have been cut out; leaving the character completely irrelevant. 

Over all, this cast feels inexperienced. I’d put this production at the same level of a drama school show. In fact, most of the drama schools shows I’ve seen have been much better. I’m all for giving recent graduated jobs but when they’re not ready, its a car crash.

A special mention must go to Sasha Latoya, who may have been slightly miss cast as the, what seems, older characters in the show. But shows off some stunning vocals in the finale. 

Some major problems with casting in this show. Demmileigh Foster should have been Alex, Joanne Clifton should have been Gloria and Sasha Latoya should have been Kiki. 

However uninspiring the choreography was, the ensemble executed it with high energy and enthusiasm. 

This Sell-a-Door production fails to hit the mark, a show which has potential has been miscast with poor creative decisions. Wet. And not in the way you want. 

What a feeling of disappointment. 

Review by Mark Swale 

Rating: ★
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