Having never seen the film, I was fairly open-minded when I went to see Flashdance at the Liverpool Empire last night and was looking forward to being entertained by the story for the first time.
Flashdance tells the tale of Alex Owens, an apprentice welder who has a dream of becoming a professional dancer.
She gets an audition to the local dance school after some encouragement from her mentor Hanna- a retired ballerina. Little does she know- her rich boyfriend and owner of the steel mill where she works- Nick Hurley is also doing his part behind the scenes to make her dream come true.
After much toing and froing as to whether she will make the audition because she feels like an outcast, she decides to give it her best shot.
Her dance number is expectantly different- inspired by the breakdancing she has seen in the streets of Pittsburgh- which eventually earns her a place in the school. And they all live happily ever after.
After the likes of Fame, Dirty Dancing and Footloose- it was only a matter of time before Flashdance would do its rounds in theatres around the country.
If you are a fan of 80s music, there are a few tunes you will recognise- ‘What a feeling’, ‘Maniac’ and ‘Gloria’, which helped to inject some excitement into the otherwise uninspiring scenes.
Joanne Clifton was feisty and passionate as Alex and impressed with her solo dances- it was just a shame that this was all overshadowed by the linear storyline.
The rest of the cast gave it their all- their voices were strong, the enthusiasm was apparent, the actors were clearly dedicated to the project- but it didn’t allow for much connection with the characters. I didn’t care about them and that’s what I so desperately wanted. As a whole, it left me feeling totally flat at the end.
The script pulled in a few laughs but I think it would have benefited from some slicker one liners for a bit of light relief. To begin with, the storyline is largely about people having their dreams crushed left, right and centre so it needed something to detract from this on occasion.
For me- Flashdance is trying too hard to be the adult version of Billy Elliot, which uses humour to balance the difficulties the characters are facing and you’re routing for them all by the end.
Sadly, this fails to come anywhere close.
Perhaps my failing was not watching the film first- it might have stayed true to the movie and could delight fans of the original- but for me- regrettably, this is one of the poorer movie adaptations I've seen on stage.
Tagged in Liverpool Empire Theatre