Flashdance - The Musical for West End premiere from September 2010

Posted: 15th March 2010
Flashdance - The Musical

Oh, what a feeling. In 1983, cinema and pirate video audiences alike were mesmerized by 19-year-old actress and dancer Jennifer Beals rhythmically tumbling and writhing in front of a selection panel for an illustrious Pittsburgh dance school in the film Flashdance.

Only Beals wasn't a dancer and her beguiling display of suppleness and exotic agility had in fact been the work of body double and actual dancer Marine Jahan. There was quite a controversy at the time, as Jahan had not been credited. Nonetheless, Beals was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role (but not her rolls) in the film and Irene Cara (of Fame! fame) received an Oscar for Best Song. You are forgiven for not remembering the controversy, or the awards.

Indeed, much about Flashdance has been forgotten. That Alex (Beals) was a welder by day and a wannabe dancer by night. That the film was in fact a romantic comedy. That there were any other scenes or songs in the film other than that fabled tableau in front of the frosty selection panel (moustachioed man in bow-tie - check, snooty middle-aged woman in glasses - check, helpless clapping along half-way through - check, winning 'em over - vomit).

The sexy-welder-with-a-heart genre started - and ended - with Flashdance but that scene lives on in the mind of any man born before 1975, not least thanks to a faithful retelling in Geri Halliwell's noughties' video for her cover of The Weather Girls' It's Raining Men (hallelujah, indeed). Less thanks are owed to 'comic' actor Robert Webb's drag version for 2008's dismal and inexplicably repeated Let's Dance for Sport Relief (let's not - let's just give money).

Anyway, long story short: Flashdance - The Musical is coming to the West End in the autumn for a five-month run. No doubt, the aforementioned scene will be highly anticipated and probably much longer than you remember. And who knows what else will happen in the remaining two or so hours. Probably some welding and plenty of scantily-clad, thoroughly impressive dancers (insert own sparks-will-fly gag) choreographed by the evergreen Arlene Phillips.

All of which will no doubt be very entertaining. Tickets go on sale on from Thursday 18th March at 9AM.

Stewart Darkin