Baz Luhrman’s new production of Strictly Ballroom is light hearted, over the top and a lot of fun.
Drew McOnie’s choreography is typical in style and wonderfully executed, where ballroom is avoided. The ballroom scenes are feel sloppy and as though there just isn’t room for them, despite the choreography itself clearly being full of potential. This is a shame because the cast are clearly accomplished dancers – perhaps ballroom just isn’t their thing, which would hardly be surprising.
For those who don’t know the film, there is definitely no trouble following the story, which is a predictable cross between Dirty Dancing and Bend It Like Beckham, in places.
While Will Young is top billed on this production, it is Zizzi Strallen who really carries the show. Her dancing is exquisite and her portrayal of the typical, ‘doesn’t have the skill and then suddenly has the skill’ character is original and laugh out loud funny on several occasions. Ironically, Will Young’s character is not only unnecessary but entirely irrelevant. It is baffling that with a stage full of actors and actresses trained in Musical Theatre, almost the whole show would be sung by a pop star. That said, if the auditorium is still full a couple of months after opening, it will be clear that this wasn’t a bad decision on the producers part at all.
Their standing ovation must be the easiest in town, with Will Young practically telling the audience to stand. If what you’re looking for is a quality piece of theatre, venture further down Shaftesbury avenue. If you’re looking for a good night out and you’re not a stickler when it comes to ballroom dancing, this might just be what you’re after.
Strictly Ballroom plays at the Piccadilly Theatre until Saturday 21st July.
£25 rush tickets here.