Review: Flashdance the Musical

There was certainly audience buzz entering the likes of the Civic Theatre in Auckland last week for the current production of Flashdance the Musical. Groups of women by the posse dressed in leg-warmers, sweat-bands and bright coloured clothing were ready for a night of entertainment and seemingly ready to get up and dance themselves.

As a fan of anything musical or dance related, having the opportunity to see one of my favourite films from the 1980s on stage was something I couldn’t miss. Jennifer Beals’ performance in the film quite literally used to make me leap of the couch and dance my heart out. I had high expectations nonetheless, of the stage production of Flashdance the Musical with an all-American cast having that same influence on me.

Without boring you with storyline details, I’ll tell you what you want to know. Alex Owens, played by the Karate Kid’s daughter, Julia Macchio, is a petite package with a big voice and strong dance skills. She lights up the stage from the first scene with her singing capabilities and dance skills. A muscular physique, and accurate lines were consistent throughout her performances.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen more dancing from Macchio. Some of my favourite scenes from the 1983 film were those where Alex would go home and train so hard your skin felt electric and your were on the edge of your seat. While I understand that dancing like that would affect Macchio’s singing for other scenes, I’m still for more dance and on that note, some more technically challenging routines that really showcased her strengths and gave the audience the same feeling the film does. The famous water-drop on Alex that Flashdance is known for was well done. With the lighting in the right place and everyone’s anticipation of the scene that we all famously know of, the water-drop had the audience cheering.

One character who certainly deserves credit is Tanisha Moore, playing Kiki. She was amazing. Moore is a true performer who steals the show whenever she steps on stage. She can dance, and boy she can sing. A graduate of Florida State University and a mere 4’11”, Moore is a total fire-cracker. Her singing is out of this world powerful and you can tell she’s had more dance training than some of the key dancers. Tanisha Moore is someone worth watching for in future and a genuine highlight of this show.

Flashdance the Musical is a perfect girls’ night out show that you have to have fun with. This show isn’t serious and should be taken with the lightheartedness of its 1980s storyline that was relevant then. Comparing this show to more recent musical likes is not what Flashdance the Musical is all about. The show lets you re-live the 80s, the drama, soap-opera love and jazz-hands…

Reviewed by Casey Radley

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