Victoria Hamilton-Barritt
in Flashdance The Musical
(© Brinkhoff & Mögenburg)
Victoria Hamilton-Barritt
in Flashdance The Musical
(© Brinkhoff & Mögenburg)
Flashdance The Musical officially opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre on October 14. With music by Robbie Roth, lyrics Robert Cary and Roth, and book by Cary and Tom Hedley, the show has been directed by Nikolai Foster and features choreography by Arlene Phillips.

The cast features Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (Alex), Matt Willis (Nick), Sarah Ingram (Hannah), Charlotte Harwood (Gloria), Hannah Levane (Keisha), and Twinnie-Lee Moore (Jazmin).

The company also includes Brendan Cull, Russell Dixon, Sam Mackay, Ricky Rojas, Andrew Spillett and Robbie White, as well as Ivan Blackstock, Tyman Boatwright, Myles Brown, Joseph Conner, Natalie Edmunds, Nicholas Gilligan, Zoe Green, James Hall, Ben Harrold, Emily Hawgood, Kirby Huges, Sia Kiwa, Lindsay Shaw, Maria Swainson, Amy Thornton, and Daniel Uppal.

Many of the dailies and several website have posted their reviews, and while opinions vary about the merits of the show and its transfer from screen to stage, the critics are almost unanimous in their praise of leading lady Hamilton-Barritt.

Among the reviews are:

Daily Mail
Enough energy for a Lucozade factory...
"...Victoria Hamilton-Barritt...What a belter! A beaver's cheekbones, a gymnast's physique, a big voice, bigger hair, and enough energy to fuel a Lucozade factory."

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"Apart from the appallingly trite storyline, this show is much better than it probably need be.

"A great recession-buster of a night out."

Daily Telegraph
Flashdance, Shaftesbury Theatre, review
"If you like cheesy Eighties pop music, the hits from the film are present and correct. Choreographer Arlene Phillips has come up with lots of Hot Gossip-style dance routines for scantily-clad chicks, plus loads of energetic street-style numbers, but the dancing isn't nearly as spectacular as it is in the movie, and the famous chair dance and the climactic ballet audition prove deeply disappointing."

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"But it is the clumsy attempt by director Nikolai Foster and writers Tom Hedley and Robert Cary to turn a trite but mildly enjoyable film into something starker and more hard-hitting that is the production's great weakness. The upbeat ending feels downright dishonest, and I left this supposedly feelgood show actually feeling both cheated and depressed."

Evening Standard
Flashdance The Musical takes us back to the Eighties
"...there are 14 new tunes by Robbie Roth, which parade an unsophisticated yet relentlessly efficient form of rock-inflected pop. We see the same almost workmanlike efficiency in the book by Tom Hedley and Robert Cary and in the lyrics by Cary and Roth."

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"The show's appeal has everything to do with the performances. As Alex, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt radiates star quality. She's likeable and sassy, an immensely confident dancer and versatile singer. Also impressive are Hannah Levane and Twinnie Lee Moore as her fellow club performers..."

The Guardian
Flashdance: The Musical - review
"I enjoyed watching her journey and, thanks to Arlene Phillips's choreography and Nikolai Foster's direction, the show brims with physical energy and is full of visual invention. All the same, there are aspects of this blue-collar Cinderella story that don't quite add up."

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"Foster also directs with great elan giving Robbie Roth's songs, 14 of them specially written for the show, a variety of settings and making good use of split stages, animation and video projections. And, even if Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Alex has the air of a seasoned showbiz pro rather than a 19-year-old dreamer, she invests the role with a formidably restless energy and the right chip-on-shoulder determination."

The Stage
Flashdance - the Musical
"Flashdance is a slickly achieved hybrid of an adult version of Billy Elliot meets Fame."

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"A talented cast is led by Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, a dancing dynamo as Alex, who combines looks, legs, movement and vocals to brassy effect, and the sweetly appealing Matt Willis, formerly of pop band Busted, as her boss turned lover."

Whatsonstage.com
Flashdance
"...this invigorating London premiere, which has transformed an okay movie with a few songs into a pulsating dance show with fourteen new numbers, a tougher narrative, and a well sustained metaphor of the Pittsburgh steel mill as a glorified dance floor.

"Above all, there is a wonderful central performance by unknown Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Alex the welder that proclaims a new star is born. Nikolai Foster's production, designed by Morgan Large, is both exciting and stunningly efficient, with plenty of grime and welders' sparks, sliding factory doors and brilliant choreography by Arlene Phillips."

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"But the cleverness of Flashdance the musical is to make considerable theatrical virtue out of what might easily have looked tacky and derivative. The show's fresh as masonry paint, a full-on power blast, striking sparks, and industrial action, in all directions."