Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Ben Adams. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Ben Adams. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Flashdance, Grand Opera House, Belfast (UK Tour) | Review


Flashdance (UK Tour)
Grand Opera House, Belfast 
Reviewed on Wednesday 22nd August 2018 by Damien Murray
★★★★

Book-ended by its ever popular signature song, this was a fantastic feel-good show for people who remember the popular film with its memorable big hit songs or for those who just want an entertaining night of light-hearted escapism (which, judging by public reaction, was 99% of the audience). 

Although there were some dramatic moments, this rather shallow and cliché-ridden story was never going to be a platform for displaying acting skills but simply a dance-based showcase for fancy footwork and ridiculously high-energy routines that made me exhausted just watching them. 

When you know not to have high dramatic expectations, then you will not be disappointed, but you will be guaranteed to be blown away by this show’s series of storming dance routines for, as a dance-based piece, it proved to be every bit as energetic as one would have expected. 

Going back in time to the era of baggy blue jeans, shell suits, work-out outfits, neon leg-warmers and equally bright head-bands, it all began with the mundane and relatively colourless world of welders contrasting in so many ways with the, sometimes sleazy, but always dazzling one of the dancers with Matt Cole’s spectacular and varied routines being so well realised by the extremely fit cast and even including choreographed cyclists at one point. 


For those who don’t know the story, it is basically about a tom-boyish welder, Alex (Joanne Clifton), with dreams of training to be a professional dancer at an elite dance academy and her relationship with her well-meaning and influential boyfriend, Nick (Ben Adams), who is also her boss. 

The sub-plot centres on another relationship – that of her down-on-her-luck dancing friend, Gloria (Hollie-Ann Lowe) and her wannabe, but unsuccessful, comedian boyfriend, Jimmy (Colin Kiyani). 

Surrounded by the symbolic brick and metal stage frame, the dual level set may have looked cumbersome at times, but it was very cleverly designed to be both mobile, functional and versatile, using its many steps, projection screens and positioning points to become everything from a ballet studio to a run-down bar and from a work canteen to a nightclub. 

I particularly liked the unusual angular performance space that it created at times and the performance space height variations that it allowed and, common to a lot of shows nowadays, I thought the use of the cast moving the props and set worked well for slick and distraction-free scene changes. 

Andrew Ellis’ lighting plot was varied (often pulsating to the music) but was also subtle during the more dramatic scenes and very effective at key moments, while the blue and red neon lighting helped to establish the era of the piece. 

With such a poor script, director, Hannah Chissick, must have had a difficult job inspiring her cast in the non-dancing parts of the show, but she did capture the frustrating reality of the audition process. 


Strictly Come Dancing champion, Joanne Clifton, was a natural on stage as she took the demanding challenges of the dance routines in her stride; totally nailing the films two iconic moments (the chair-drenching Act 1 finale and the Academy audition routine), and, surprisingly for some, coping well with her acting and singing roles. 

In many ways, this piece gave former A1 star, Ben Adams, very little to do, as – not being involved in the dance scenes - he had to rely on a few acting moments to show his skills. 

I felt he was very much under-used, but, thankfully, as a more romantic character, he did get to use his impressive vocals to good effect, especially in his duets with Clifton. 

Both Hollie-Ann Lowe and Colin Kiyani impressed here as the less successful couple, with Lowe capturing her character’s frustration about her general bad luck and life with her failed comedian boyfriend; a role that Kiyani made his own as he realised their relationship was more important than his dreamed about comic career. 

Also worthy of mention were Demmileigh Foster as dancer, Tess, who was excellent throughout with great stage presence and top dancing skills, and Carol Ball’s Hannah; a Grand Dame of dance who lives in the past reminiscing about the successes of her glory days with unrealistic hopes for more. 


Musical Director, George Carter’s 5-piece band offered solid backing throughout with musical highlights including: the song of dreams and hopes, It’s All In Reach; the female ensemble showing the first signs of what was to come in terms of manic movement during Maniac; the comic routine, Put It Down; the male choral work of Justice; the energetic and almost acrobatic version of I Love Rock And Roll; the duets, Here And Now and Hang On; the Act 1 finale reprise of Maniac; and Where We Belong, which sounded like it was written and performed by Dean Friedman . 

Some additional songs for the stage version worked better than others, but it was always going to be difficult to match the quality of the show’s big well-known hit songs. 

Finally, What A Feeling at the end of the show was well worth the long wait to see the iconic audition piece recreated, before a long curtain call and an all-dancing finale which gave everyone a chance to throw some serious moves centre stage (even Ben Adams). 

It must be said that these dancers worked harder in the finale than most performers do in an entire show … never mind What A Feeling … What A Dance Show … you would be a Maniac to miss it!

Flashdance runs at the Grand Opera House, Belfast until 25th August

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Flashdance (UK Tour), Liverpool Empire Theatre | Review



Flashdance (UK Tour)
Liverpool Empire Theatre 
Reviewed on Friday 20th October 2017 by Becca Cromwell
★★★★

Legwarmers primed (not really!) I headed to Liverpool for a night at the theatre. This time, it was to see Flashdance, the stage adaptation of the 1980s hit musical originally starring Jennifer Beale.

This production stars Joanne Clifton (best known for Strictly Come Dancing, Thoroughly Modern Millie and soon to star in Top Hat) as the energetic and ambitious Alex Owens and Ben Adams (A1) as the charming Nick Hurley.

With direction from Hannah Chissick and choreography by Matthew Cole, I had high hopes. From the moment the show started, I was gripped. I must admit, I had never seen Flashdance and all I knew of it was the water scene and a couple of 80s hits, and I was thoroughly impressed.

Joanne Clifton wowed as Alex, a welder with dreams of being a professional dancer. From the opening note, Clifton impressed with her vocals and astonished with her impeccable dance skills. She really is one to watch.


Ben Adams was spectacular as Nick Hurley, the latest of the Hurley family to own the factory Alex works in. His acting was believable, and his singing was, of course, perfect. Upon hearing that he was in a boyband, I was sceptical but he blew the sceptics away within minutes of stepping on the stage. The audience members around me had come not knowing who he was, and left impressed. As did I.

The show included many of everyone's 80s favourites, including 'What a Feeling', 'Maniac', 'I love Rock and Roll' and 'Gloria'. These were executed well, and pleased the crowd massively. The rest of the numbers worked nicely, with the number 'Here and Now' standing out amongst the rest.

This scene between Alex (Clifton) and Nick (Adams) is your classic musical theatre romantic duet between two characters realising they are in love and who are wanting to savour the moment forever. The vocals from both are almost flawless, and the crowd loved it. 'Here and Now' has just been released on iTunes, sung by Clifton and Adams, and I urge you all to buy it.


Alex's friends Gloria (Hollie-Ann Lowe), Kiki (Sia Dauda) and Tess (Demmileigh Foster). Their vocals were outstanding and the dancing incredible. The entire cast are extremely talented performers. Colin Kiyani played Jimmy and his performance was thoroughly enjoyable - I enjoyed the cheesy jokes! Carol Ball was fantastic as Hannah and Sasha Latoya played Louise, whose vocals shone in the finale.

There were unfortunately a few technical issues, with one of the two screens not working properly and appearing to be loading every minute or so and some lines being missed by microphones. However, these did not distract from the outstanding performances given by the cast, nor did they let that stop them. The atmosphere and energy were incredible from the start until the very end. The audience were up dancing along to the megamix during the curtain call, and left thoroughly entertained.

Flashdance continues its UK tour into 2018.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

In Conversation With... Ben Adams | Flashdance, Eugenius | Interview



Ben Adams found fame as the lead singer in the pop group A1 but since then has been writing and producing for various artists, as well as working on his own music, starring in the UK tour of Flashdance and writing the new musical, Eugenius. Ben and I had a chat about all of those  things and more...

You’ve had such a varied career, what have some of your highlights been?
Gosh I've had so many highlights, it's quite hard to choose just a few of them. I think I'm living through my ultimate highlight right now! I've always wanted to write a musical and for it to be going on in the West End right now is ridiculous, I mean, who gets to do that?! And the fact that it's going down so well is like a dream so I'm actually living through it right now.

Aside from that I've travelled the world, I've won Brit awards and MTV awards and Smash Hits awards and had number one singles- just so many things that I can't even pinpoint one thing... or even a few things that  would be highlights. There's just so many and I've had a great life.

That is a pretty good life!

I know! I feel like I've smashed 10 lifetimes into 1. I'm 36 which is kinda old to some people but it's been amazing!


What attracted you to this production of Flashdance?
Well, I'd been in the studio writing for other artists for the first six months of last year and as much as I love doing that and it is a lot of fun, I did kind of feel that I was getting itchy feet and wanted to do more performing for a while. Every time musical theatre things had come my way I'd always turned them down cause I thought they looked like a lot of hard work and I had a lot of other things going on at the time so I didn't really have time to do it. Then this came at a period where Eugenius wasn't on till January and I had a good six month slot where I could try it and see if I enjoy doing musical theatre. 

I remember Flashdance from when I was growing up and you know it's very 80s inspired and I love the 80s music and so I thought I'd give it a go. I was only contracted until December but I loved it so much and they wanted me to continue with it so I signed up to carry on until October [2018].



Are you anything like Nick Hurley?
The character of Nick is the rich kid who doesn't really have too many responsibilities. There are probably elements of the character which I can relate to. I mean I've never owned a steel works so that's not something I can affiliate with but he's not too dissimilar from myself really. It's not an amazingly tricky part for me to play where I have to change my entire personality.




Other than yourself, who would you like to see play Nick Hurley?
Oh gosh, who would I like to see play Nick... that's a tricky question. What about... I have absolutely no idea! Okay, what about Warwick Davis cause he'd probably do it  completely different to me. It would be really fun to see what his take on it would be!


Who in the show would you say is most like their character?
I guess Carol Ball as Hannah cause she's got a lot of experience with dance and acting and a lot of knowledge that she passes on in real life like her character does to Alex in the show. Jo [Clifton] and I probably act out a lot of stuff that is pretty similar to our characters as well- it's pretty well cast!


Your new show Eugenius is a huge hit, why do you think audiences are loving it so much?
I think because it taps into a really feel-good side of everybody. You don't have to love comic books, you don't have to love 80s music, you don't have to know anything about that era to love it. It's for those people of course cause there's a lot of references to it but it not specifically for those people. It's just full of joy. 

Of course there are different reasons for going to the theatre, but you know if you want to go to something really thought-provoking and dark then don't go see Eugenius  but if you want something to leave you joyful and elated about life in this miserable world that we live in and two hours of escapism then come. 

I don't think I've seen anyone walk out of Eugenius without a massive grin on their face and that's what it was about for me and Chris writing it. We had such a brilliant time and to see that energy being seconded by the cast and then the audiences it's just amazing.


The show has a goodie and a baddie (or two); if you were in a comic book would you rather be the hero or the villain?
Well in everything I'm cast in I always seem to play the goodie. I always play the hero, you know the Robin Hood... or Nick Hurley, but I always look at the baddies and see how much fun they seem to be having. Ian Hughes and Cameron Blakely who play the villains in Eugenius have so much fun with their parts, not that the others don't, but there's something fun about playing a baddie.



Sadly Eugenius is closing on the 3rd, what’s your biggest dream for the future of it?
It's so  crazy to think that in a weeks time it closes when there's so much love for the show. My biggest dream, in a similar way to The Rocky Horror Picture Show is that it has a huge life and it lives on, not just in the UK but all over the world. People have been coming over from all different countries who are wanting to put it on all over so that's exciting.

We just have to be careful and make sure that we do everything properly and take our time to make sure that every single production of it in the future is as good as it is now. We don't want to cut corners and we want the casting to be amazing. 

One of my favourite things about it is doing things that are purposefully shit! Like when you have the babies at the start, I love that there's the crappy UFO flying across and Kevin the Robot looks like he's made of cardboard- those things are great. It's that same way that I felt when I saw Rocky Horror because those things are knowingly done shit... if that makes any sense?!

It's very self-aware, it's not trying to be a big budget thing. It's just there as a whole bunch of fun and I love that and wouldn't want to lose that.


What’s a fun fact people may not know about you?
I will always have an olbas oil bottle in my pocket or beside the stage. I'm absolutely addicted to it to a point where if I don't have it I'll probably have a panic attack!


If you could go back to any era, when would you go to and why?
Probably the 80s! It was such a fun time that was so flamboyant and wasn't about being cool or trendy. You could just do anything you wanted and the movies were great, the music was great and it was such a brilliant era so I'd probably go back there.


What’s your best piece of advice for someone aspiring to be in the theatre industry?
Create your own luck. Be in the right place at the right time and learn your craft and when you go up for auditions make sure you know it like the back of your hand- that's what they're looking for. I've been on both sides of the table, auditioning for stuff and auditioning people and it makes such a difference when someone comes in and just commands the lines and songs they've been given. It gives the people casting them the confidence that they're going to do an amazing job.


A huge thank you to Ben for taking the time to do this interview. Flashdance is touring until October 20th and Eugenius is at The Other Palace until March 3rd.

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Flashdance (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Flashdance (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 3rd October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

Based on the 1983 film (which I've never seen), Flashdance is the story of Alex Owens, a welder who dreams of being a dancer but has had no formal training. She plucks up the courage to apply to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and also meets a new love interest on the way who just so happens to be the boss' son. 

There are a number of side plots, like the mechanics facing jobs losses, Gloria being drawn into a seedy drug filled world and her boyfriend Jimmy attempting to make it as a comedian in New York but these feel a little unnecessary. They're obviously added in to pad out the show but I felt it would have flowed better without them as they're not explored enough to add much. 

But lets be honest, people don't go to Flashdance for the plot. They're there for the big money numbers and nostalgia for the classics they remember, something which the show certainly provides. The instantly recognisable 'Maniac', 'What a Feeling' and 'Gloria' have the audience excited and invested whilst most of the other songs are not particularly memorable. That's not to say that the vocal performances aren't brilliant though. Ben Adams gives a strong performance as the misguided, rich boy, Nick Hurley. His popstar vocals are not those typically heard in musical theatre but they work well in the show and his his rendition of 'Enough' was especially good.

Joanne Clifton is outstanding as Alex. Obviously she's known for her dance skills but seeing them life and with so much energy is spectacular to see on stage. Vocally she is also strong and her acting stood up well within the cast and she is a very solid lead. I was particularly impressed by Hollie-Ann Lowe who showed a number of sides to Gloria as well as some lovely vocal moments. A special mention must go to Colin Kiyani (Jimmy) who's voice is beautiful and I got major Ben Platt vibes during 'Where We Belong'.

Matt Cole's choreography is definitely the highlight of the production; tight and sleek throughout it provides some wow moments of impact. One thing I didn't like was the use of click tracks during some of the ensemble dance numbers such as 'I Love Rock and Roll'. I completely understand how demanding it is to do the energetic choreography at the same time as singing but it just felt a little obvious to me and could have been covered up more. However, the performances were still great.

This is definitely a feel good musical, whilst it does look at some darker themes, they are definitely not what you focus on. It's more of a drama with music but the energetic and sharp performances are enough to draw you in and will certainly leave you tapping your feet!


Flashdance runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until October 7th

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Flashdance (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Flashdance (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 19th February 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

If you want some ab-inspiration then Flashdance is the show for you. I saw the show in Wimbledon back in October and wasn't the biggest fan, however, knowing what to expect I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone seems a lot more settled into their roles and there was much more of a flow throughout. 

Flashdance centres around the story of Alex, a welder who dreams of being a dancer and attending the distinguished Shipley Academy. On her journey she meets a dapper love interest who also happens to be the boss' son. Aside from this there are some other side plots such as Jimmy who wants to make it big as a comedian, his girlfriend Gloria being pulled into a seedy drug filled world at a rival club and the imminent job cuts for all the apprentices. With regards to these I feel the same as previously that they're not really explored enough to be of that much importance but I totally get that they have to be in there to pad out the show.

But Flashdance is all about the classic, big money numbers which are delivered with spades of energy and commitment. Hits such as 'Gloria', 'What A Feeling' and 'Manic' are instantly recognisable and work brilliantly to hype the audience up and draw them into the Flashdance world.


A lot of the other songs are a little unmemorable but they vigour they are performed with makes up for it. Joanne Clifton is exceptional as Alex. From Strictly fame she's of course known for her dance but seeing her on stage performing Matt Cole's choreography is extra special. She's magnetic and draws you in even when performing a group number. Her vocals are strong although at times I found her diction lacking but she is certainly cut out for the role and I can see why she has abs of steel from being that full out every night! As her rich-boy boyfriend, Ben Adams is equally as strong. Whilst his pop vocals are not commonplace in the musical theatre world, they are strong and fit with the character. The pair have a lovely chemistry and really draw you into the story.

I have to mention Colin Kiyani as Jimmy who again gave me Ben Platt vibrato vibes and Hollie-Ann Lowe who was versatile and vulnerable as his girlfriend, Gloria. Again, the two have a sweet chemistry. Sasha Latoya is vocally breathtaking and equally humourous whilst Sia Dauda and Demmileigh Foster (who is literally Victoria Hamilton-Barritt reincarnated) were full out in their high octane numbers as Kiki and Tess.


There were a few technical issues such as mics being too quiet and the irony wasn't missed when one of the girls' top wouldn't stay done up when singing about keeping her clothes on! Totally no ones fault though and a very small detail in a big production. I'm also not a big fan of megamixes at the end of shows but there's no denying that it got everyone up on their feet and in a good mood as they left the theatre. 

Flashdance isn't the most astounding piece of theatre but it's high energy from start to finish with some memorable songs that'll definitely get stuck in your head. For a fun night out that'll leave you smiling and in my case, dancing round the house, then be sure to pay a visit to this 80s classic on stage.

Flashdance runs at the New Victoria Theatre until February 24th before continuing it's UK Tour.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 4th March 2019 by Louise Jordan
★★★★★

Over 30 million people have watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show live. I was one of them, thirty years ago. Would this version capture the energy, naughtiness and sheer exuberance of my previous experience, or Richard O’Brien’s cult film? The answer is abso-jolly-lutely. What a treat!

I could explain the plot in detail, but frankly it doesn’t really matter. In a nutshell Brad (Ben Adams) and Janet (Joanne Clifton), American squeaky clean and newly engaged college students, break down one night and seek shelter. They stumble across Dr Frank-N-Furter’s (Stephen Webb) castle, where he is unveiling his newest creation, Rocky (Callum Evans). A certain amount of, ahem, intimacy occurs all round (the warnings of adult themes are justified – don’t take your granny unless she’s especially broad minded). Enter stage left Dr Everett Scott (Ross Chisari) looking for his son Eddie and tada, we discover that Frank is an alien transvestite from the planet Transsexual. Are you any wiser? Thought not. But you don’t go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the plot. You go for the experience and the singalong joy of it – the entire audience is on their feet for ‘Sweet Transvestite’. The show is clearly held in enormous affection by its devoted audience and Dom Joly as narrator interacts brilliantly with the barrage of comments that punctuate his every appearance on stage.

The acting, singing and dancing are flawless, and the staging slick in this ensemble production of all round strong performances. The chemistry and timing between actors ensures the pace never dips from start to finish.

If you live in or near Woking, you’ve got a week to catch this show and leave behind the pressures of real life for a night. And if – man, woman or non-binary – you want to dust down your bustier and fishnets for the night, who am I to judge?

Rocky Horror runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 9th March before continuing its tour

photo credit: David Freeman

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour) 

New Wimbledon Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 11th February 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

A Transylvanian delight, Rocky Horror will have you laughing in delight and dancing in your seat from the moment it begins in all its sparkly, transsexual glory. 

Newly engaged couple Janet and Brad find them selves heading to an old castle when their car breaks down in the middle of a storm. There they meet Transylvania Transvestite Frank N Furter and his amazing and adoring entourage.

Rocky Horror brings a whole range of people to the theatre and everyone is welcome. Between those in full costumes and those in their normal everyday clothes, one thing is common: everyone is excited for a high energy night out. A whole range of ages and types of people clearly love this show and the smiles on everyones faces as they leave the theatre is a reminder of just how wonderful theatre can be, especially in trying times.


The show opens with a bang as the band bring the score to life (led by George Carter) and Laura Harrison as the cinema usher belts the opening number, Science Fiction/Double Feature, to rapturous applause. Laura is also fantastic as Magenta as she slinkily makes her way round the stage throughout and leads the Time Warp with high energy and oomph. Fellow slaves, Miracle Chance (Columbia) and Kristian Lavercombe (Riff Raff) also provide stellar, well characterised performances.

As Frank N Furter, Stephen Webb absolutely commands the stage. He struts around like he owns the theatre and everyone on it as as he embodies sass and sex as well as providing killer vocals.

As naïve lovebirds, Joanne Clifton (Janet) and Ben Adams (Brad) are well cast as they deliver engaging and suitably wide-eyed performances. The pair work very well with each other and bring this wacky story to life with fun and energy.


Making his theatrical debut, Dom Joly as the narrator is wonderful as he steers us through the highly chaotic tale with charisma and natural charm. Responding to the audience and adding in 'local humour' makes the piece just that bit more entertaining.

Nick Richings' lighting brings vibrance to every part of the stage and he does an outstanding job of being over the top without being unnecessary. Sue Blane's costumes are suitably glittery  and indulgent, whilst, Nathan M Wright's choreography delivers punch after punch to accompany the high octane score.

Christopher Luscombe has directed a highly fun production with just enough space for audience interaction and all the ups and downs we expect from Rocky Horror. Whether you've seen the show before, or are a new viewer, there's no reason for you to dislike this wildly entertaining musical.

Rocky Horror runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 16th February before continuing its tour



Thursday, 30 June 2016

Eugenius: Concert Premiere Performance, London Palladium | Review



Last night saw the premiere concert performance of a brilliant new musical that goes by the name of Eugenius at the London Palladium.

With a book, music and lyrics by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins, Eugenius tells the love story of Janey and Eugene. 

Janey is head over heels in love with Eugene but has been placed firmly in the friend-zone, replaced by Eugene's love for comic books. A love so great that he even writes his own and somehow gets thrown into the crazy world of Hollywood. With plot twists and hysterically witty dialogue, Eugenius is set to be the new hit musical! Oh, and it's all based on 80's music! As I'm 19 I wouldn't say the music is nostalgic for me but I know my parents would adore it! It's certainly catchy and the 80's vibe has you dancing in your seat! The stellar cast were absolutely wonderful, with Amy Lennox stealing the show for me with her stunning voice. This is sure a cast to watch out for!

If you're not a fan of the typical musical then this is definitely for you. I found myself laughing out loud from the very start to the very end and the upbeat atmosphere was infectious. Me and many others around me were humming the songs on the train all the way home!

This musical is bound to become a cult classic and pave the way for a whole wave of new musicals. If you want a hilarious, positive, fun night out that celebrates the geeks in us all then this will be the show for you! There are no set plans for when/where Eugenius will open, but if the huge standing ovation at the concert is anything to go by then it will be no time until you can witness the brilliance for yourself! In the mean time, head to http://www.eugeniusthemusical.com/home/4592270352 to learn more about the show and hear some music sneak peeks!

*Thank you to London Theatre Direct for providing me with tickets to this show.