The most recent incarnation of Flash Mob: Where Dance Worlds Collide also serves as a celebration of all the talent uncovered by the plethora of talent shows that grace our screens today. Whilst I enjoyed all the acts as individual contributors there was just something that just didn’t quite fuse about Flash Mob.
As a fan of dance, there is plenty to love. The performers are enticing and energetic, however this is also a show that seems to be having an identity crisis. Is it a fast, furious dance extravaganza or more interested in portraying a narrative exploring friendship and romance? It tries to be both with the storyline shoe-horned into the first act, whilst the second is a vehicle for the performers to showcase themselves as they each individually take to the stage.
The storytelling is endearing to start with; there’s a party being planned via social media and tweets are projected onto the back of the stage. Kevin (Clifton) tells Tommy (Franzén) to hurry up because there’s a ‘hot girl giving me the eye’ who is of course his real life fiancée, Karen (Hauer). All very sweet, but the less experienced performers struggled to deal with these aspects with as much conviction. Alleviate (Renako McDonald and Nicholette Whitley of Got to Dance fame) play two lovers and take us from their first date to engagement to one of them being run over by a truck in the space of 30 minutes. As much as it’s meant to be moving, melancholy stuff, it all happens so quickly I’m left feeling a little bewildered instead of shedding a tear.
Irish dancers Brosena slip under the radar in the first act but are given opportunity to shine in the second with their trademark fast feet and impressive synchronisation. Talented Tommy Franzén is a particular highlight of the show and his zany solo where he attempts to go about his morning routine via a series of convulsions and somersaults after a heavy night on the town, demonstrates perfect comic timing.
It’s Strictly’s new power couple Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer who steal the show for me though, their whacky facial expressions and relentless energy keeps my eye drawn to them throughout. The Pasodoble they perform is passionate and powerful, whilst their speakeasy Tango is a stylish and smouldering display, but the highlight was a Rumba to Emeli Sande’s Clown, it’s relentlessly emotive and their partnership has a tangible realness.
Flash Mob certainly won’t disappoint young dance fans with its colourful costuming and cute love story but it lacked the spontaneity inherent in the title. All the talent is there, it just needs to decide whether this should be delivered via a storyline or a showcase.
First published in Dance Today magazine – July 2014