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Previewed 27 September 2010, Opened 14 October 2010, Closed 15 January 2011 at the Shaftesbury Theatre
The West End Premiere of the stage musical Flashdance in London starring Victoria Hamilton-Barritt
First, when there's nothing but a slow glowing dream... Set in Pittsburgh, Flashdance The Musical tells the story of 18 year old Alex, a welder by day and 'flashdancer' by night, whose dream is to obtain a place at the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy. Based on the Paramount Pictures film, this new stage production of Flashdance is full of pulsating raw energy and breathtaking choreography. This unique musical about holding on to your dreams and love against all the odds features an iconic score including Maniac; Manhunt; Gloria; I Love Rock and Roll; and the Academy Award winning title track Flashdance - What a Feeling.
Flashdance the Musical on stage is written by Tom Hedley and Robert Cary, with music by Robbie Roth, lyrics by Robert Cary and Robbie Roth and is based on the Paramount Pictures film with screenplay by Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas and story by Tom Hedley.
The cast features Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as 'Alex Owens', Matt Willis as 'Nick Hurley', Charlotte Harwood as 'Gloria', Hannah Levane as 'Keisha', Twinnelee Moore as 'Jazmin', Brendan Cull as 'Abe', Russell Dixon as 'Harry'/'Joe', Kirby Hughes as 'Mrs Wilde', Sarah Ingram as 'Hannah Owens', Sam Mackay as 'Jimmy', Ricky Rojas as 'Dr Kool', Andrew Spillett as 'Sammy', and Robbie White as 'CC', with Ivan Blackstock, Myles Brown, Nicholas Gilligan, Zoe Green, James Hall, Sia Kiwa, Maria Swainson, Amy Thornton, Daniel Uppal, Tyman Boatwright, Joseph Connor, Natalie Edmunds, Ben Harrold, Emily Hawgood, and Lindsay Shaw.
Directed by Nikolai Foster, with choreography by Arlene Phillips, sets by Morgan Large, costumes by Sue Blane, lighting by Howard Harrison, and sound by Bobby Aitken. This production comes into London's West End following a major 10 month UK tour from July 2008 to May 2009.
Victoria Hamilton-Barritt's West End stage credits include the role 'Maria' in Angus Jackson's production of Peter Michael Marino's Blondie musical Desperately Seeking Susan at the Novello Theatre in 2007.
"Flashdance The Musical, based on the 1983 movie, definitely flaunts potential; as feisty heroine Alex, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt vaguely recalls the film's original star Jennifer Beals. Dance veteran Arlene Phillips's choreography is a typical pick'n'mix and ex-Busted popster Matt Willis is the wholesome love interest as Alex's boss. Flashdance isn't a slick production but it does bust some savvy moves. It combines new numbers and synth classics from the film's soundtrack, especially Michael Sembello's Maniac. The show does feel pitched at an audience who weren't even conceived back in 1983; the plot is rushed and any risque elements pared down - Alex's iconic shower dance scene is cautiously brief - while the ensemble dancers resemble contemporary acts like Diversity. Overall, though, this retro piece pulls on the legwarrners and pulls off the feel-good factor." The London Metro
"Nikolai Foster's robust production can't disguise a frequently slack score, but retains a gritty awareness of life's slender chances. Arlene Phillips' raunchy guys and fembot pole dancers feel routine at times; better are the terrific licks of street dance, especially in the robotic freak-out during the dark second act." The Sunday Times
"An audience wants the feeling (and, in this case, What A Feeling) all over again, made mightier for being live. Pity then that the West End premiere of Flashdance feels like being shut up in a sleazy strip joint and force-fed Duran Duran's greatest hits... Short blasts of the celebrated numbers - Manhunt, Maniac, I Love Rock'n'Roll, Gloria - are swamped by pappy, poppy, unmemorable new stuff. The iconic scenes - the chair, the running on the spot - are shrunk into a few seconds, long enough for a production photograph to be taken. Victoria Hamilton-Barritt's Alex overdoes the armourplating without suggesting a soft centre." The Mail on Sunday
The author of Flashdance, Tom Hedley says: "Flashdance the movie was made in 1983, against all odds, at a time when Hollywood had decided the musical genre was dead. It was precisely because of this studio prejudice that I conceived Flashdance as a movie musical where no one sang to the camera. Though the screenplay was musically structured and driven by dance production numbers, I was careful to play scenes 'real' and never have a character sing out loud. There was plenty of resistance to this concept and at first we found directors weren't interested. Fifteen in a row said, no thanks. After passing at least once, Adrian Lyne agreed to take the job. And he directed it beautifully - without Adrian the movie probably wouldn't have worked. The first director to turn down my script was the master himself, Bob Fosse. I met with Fosse in his sparse, gloomy apartment across from the Plaza Hotel in New York. The maestro had a cold but nonetheless was chain-smoking. He sat in a worn leather chair under a torn Sweet Charity poster. He'd cough from time to time in the growing darkness and, as if choreographed, I would hear a female cough in a distant bedroom. Fosse was tough-minded but generous both with his time and surprisingly detailed notes. He had obviously spent a lot of time studying the script. He loved the Flashdance girls but thought the script had a central flaw. He didn't believe a movie could be built simply on single choreography to camera. As far as he was concerned, without ensemble choreography a musical just couldn't work. I argued that my girls were pure rock'n'roll. They had to be seen as if they were performing to a mirror. Fosse didn't buy that. He was an old jazz guy who had little patience for rock'n'roll, in any case. 'Look. It's not a movie,' Fosse said at his apartment door while shaking my hand. 'If it's anything, it's a musical for the stage...', 'Trouble is I'm making a movie,' I replied sheepishly. 'If you change your mind,' the maestro said, looking bone-weary, 'you have my number... with work your Flashdance might make a hell of a Broadway show.' From your lips to God's ears, Mr Fosse. Let's hope you're right. If you're still up there, maybe you could put in a good word for me."
Flashdance in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre previewed from 27 September 2010, opened on 14 October 2010 and closed on 15 January 2011.
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