Who doesn’t recognize the iconic image of Jennifer Beale getting drenched by a bucket of water in the classic 1983 film, Flashdance?
That is Flashdance: The Musical‘s greatest asset and biggest handicap; both the arguably-classic tale of a struggling young artist yearning to break free and the classic film have rendered the musical anything but flashy, so the burden lies on director Sergio Trujillo and his young cast to make memorable the story that is already so familiar to so many.
The National Tour of the 2008 stage adaptation of the movie plays on a mix of nostalgia (god, the perms!) and actual human connection, which comes easily, here in a city as industrial as the Pittsburgh in Flashdance, and with an arts scene as surprisingly thriving as the one these characters experience.
Regardless, it’s not a stretch to root for the feisty Karli Dinardo as the female lead Alex, the maniac at the steel mill and on the dance floor. With her crisp, clear vocals and the effortless way she nails the choreography, it’s easy to see how this Australian-born performer managed to land her first National Tour role. Opposite her, Adam J. Rennie as the love interest Nick struggles to make the role his own, relying primarily on his stellar vocals to get him through.
Meanwhile, it’s Brianna-Marie Bell’s Kiki and Heidi Friese’s Gloria (both close friends and coworkers of Alex) that truly make an impression on the audience. However minor their parts, Bell’s stunning moves and smoother-than-silk voice, and Friese’s powerful embodiment of the sweet, often-misguided Gloria add the flash to this tale as old as time.
Though the experience is somewhat marred by the occasional technical glitch involving set changes and mics (easily explained away by the fact that the Edmonton opening night also marked the National Tour’s opening night), this production of Flashdance: The Musical truly manages to hit the mark.
What a feeling, indeed!
Flashdance: The Musical will be performing at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium until this Sunday, November 30th.
Photography courtesy of Chad Beremerman.