Tuesday, September 26

Flashdance – Grange Theatre

After months of hard work and a 3 month delay due to Covid restrictions, Zodiac Musical Theatre have managed to bring the North-West premier of Flashdance the Musical to sold out audiences at the Grange Theatre in Hartford.

Flashdance the Musical is adapted from the 1983 Paramount Pictures musical film which follows the story of Alex, an 18-year-old welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, and her dreams of attending a prestigious Dance Academy.

Director and Choreographer, Jessica Martin, had her work cut out to bring together this marathon of a show and she did it so well with a sharp vision and brilliant choreography, very fitting with the era, magnificent work. Craig Price as Musical Director has once again worked his magic to assist the cast in delivering killer vocals and tight harmonies. Including five pit vocalists, this created a fuller sound and filled parts that may otherwise have been missed due to scene or costume changes.

The cast are incredible, giving 100% to this show. Kayleigh Ann Strong in the lead role of Alex shone like the biggest star, with huge vocals, a loveable character and killer dance moves, there is just nothing she cannot do. And the last section in Act One left the audience in awe and cheering for more (no spoilers). Chris Doyle was perfect as Nick Hurley, just the right mix of geeky prep guy and the loving hero, he brought so much to the role. With vocals for days, he had the audience transfixed. The other standouts were Ciera Evans as Gloria, Grace Dougall as Kiki, and Kat Hewish as Tess, all a force to be reckoned with individually but when they sang together they were show stopping. Absolutely stunning.

The stage was an interesting choice where they used the main stage and the floor of the auditorium as an add on space. I say an interesting choice as I do not feel this set up worked at points and occasionally, I felt like scenes became broken when cast left the main stage to enter the flooring area to dance, something I personally think would have worked better leaving it on the main stage. There were times it worked especially in the ‘audition’ scenes and street scenes. Another thing that made it feel disjointed was the orchestra pit was in front of the stage therefore cutting the acting spaces through the middle. When cast were on the floor, the audiences at the sides were removed from the action due to sight lines and cast blocking each other. Saying this, the scene changes were flawless and slick, and done with such professionalism. Huge well done to Stage Manager Jennifer Deakin and team

The band were incredible, playing with enthusiasm and bringing the right feel to the show but on a couple of occasions there were moments when the band were overshadowing the vocals on the main stage. This brings me to sound by Rob Williams. I am unsure if the two separate stage spaces were a factor but there were times it was hard to distinguish some dialogue or vocals on the main stage as the mic levels just did not seem correct and the lines blurred together. Lighting by Phil Redman for the most was fantastic and brought the feel of the show together but if I could be picky, I felt in scenes with a lot on stage in a song by one person, I wished that person singing was picked out by a spot light or extra lighting on them as they seemed to fade in to the background and on occasions you couldn’t actually see who was singing.

Flashdance is a feel-good show that leaves you thinking, if you believe it, you can do it. And ‘What a feeling’ to be left with.

Running until Saturday 5th February 2022 with tickets available at https://www.thezodiac.org/flashdance but be quick as it’s pretty much sold out.

Reviewer: Damian Riverol

Reviewed: 3rd February 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★