The sensational, high octane revival of 1980s blockbuster Flashdance the Musical has taken the company more than six months to perfect.
While audiences are thrilled by its energy and knockout dance routines we reveal just how hard it is to make the show seem effortless.
As the national tour gets under way Stage Review talks to director Hannah Chissick and choreographer Matt Cole.
Hannah comes to the show after recent projects including Mother Courage (Southwark Playhouse), Marry Me a Little (St James’ Studio) and Teechers for the John Godber Theatre Company.
In 2003 she became the youngest women to become an artistic director in the UK, when Harrogate Theatre appointed her at the age of 25.
Matt was associate choreographer on the West end production of Guys and Dolls; he choreographed Pure Imagination, the life and work of Leslie Bricusse at he St James Theatre; was resident director for the UK tour of West Side Story and was associate choreographer for Guys and Dolls at Chichester Festival Theatre.
Director Hannah Chissick said: “When we first started talking about the show one of the main considerations is how well loved it is, how iconic it is and how much it means to so many people.
“One of the things we were really keen to do was to really pay homage to the film, to have the iconic moments that people really want to see.
“But also to give the public a reason to come out of their homes and watch it live on stage rather than putting on the DVD of the original movie”.
The show features state-of-the-art video backcloths to allow scenes to be played out at different locations.
“We have projection screens that will be able to transport the audience, quite effortlessly between locations. Just like the film the show takes place over multi-locations.
“ I personally don’t believe people go the theatre to watch sofas coming on and off all evening.
“We wanted to be able to do something that felt vibrant and exciting and gave that 80s feel., we can go into Flashdance, have a good MTV 80s vibe and then find ourselves, say, in a steelworks.
“One of the biggest challenges with the show was finding a cast who have the unbelievable skill-set this show required.
“There are many dance shows out there. We have this extraordinary, high octane, amazing group of dancers.
“Yes, it was tricky, right from the beginning. The casting process was long and vigorous” said Matt Cole. “We required them to be able to perform so many different styles of dance.
“It goes from ballet, to contemporary, to jazz, to street and hip-hop. In the casting process, to find people who can do all of that is not an easy thing.
“Not only do they have to do that but they also have to sing and act to an exceptional standard.
“But the people we found are excellent.
“The styles of dance are hard and we were relentless during rehearsals. I’m pretty sure the cast were exhausted but that’s what the show demands.”
“But in the middle of all that,” added Hannah, “I felt that it was really important to me that you were rooting for someone that you cared about, that you invest in Alex’s success and the characters around her.”
Read Stage Review’s interview with Flashdance stars Joanne Clifton and Ben Adams, plus a full list of tour dates and venues HERE