Strictly Ballroom at New Wimbledon Theatre
Baz Luhrmann’s strictly ballroom is on its UK and Ireland tour! Adopted for the stage from the 1992 film, this show provides an insight into the dazzling but cutthroat ballroom world. It tells the story of an Australian dancer called Scott Hastings who causes an uproar in the ballroom community for dancing his ‘non-federation’ steps. He causes further commotion by insisting on dancing with beginner Fran rather than the any of the experienced dancers.
Directed by Craig Revel Horwood and Co-choreographed by both Jason Gilkinson and Craig, we knew we were going to be in for a treat with the routines! And I must say the show did not disappoint. I was delighted to see classical moves worked into the routines and was surprised at their ability to introduce comedy into the actual dance moves themselves (especially the pogo pogo!). A special shoutout must go to Joe Agudo who played Rico, Fran’s father, who did a mesmerising performance of the Paso Doble. The introduction of Ryan Webber and Danny Newell on stage from the band added a ‘stripped back’ and authentic feel to the setting.
I am always nervous when celebrities are cast for shows in the theatre, as I am often left disappointed by the performance and feel as though it tends to draw away from the show itself. However, in this show it did not feel the case. Maisie Smith as Fran, I thought was exceptional, her dancing was energetic and she was able to keep up with the professionals with ease. Her voice, although stunning, did somewhat lack power and I felt as though that it could sometimes get slightly lost in duets or group numbers. Kevin Clifton as Scott was good, and I was pleasantly surprised by his voice.
Appreciation needs to be given to Mark Walters, who was the set and costume designer for the show. The dresses can only be described as FAB-U-LOUS (as Craig would say).
Overall, I thought that Strictly Ballroom was a great show. High energy, funny and with a lot of dancing, it was right up my street. However, I would say that some more time may need to be put into polishing the Australian accents on stage, as this could often come and go.
Review by Georgina Leeson
To find out more about Strictly Ballroom and see where else it is going on tour you can visit their website here.