Strictly Ballroom The Musical at Birmingham Hippodrome Review

Strictly Ballroom The Musical at Birmingham Hippodrome Review


Posted 2022-11-02 by Alison in Birmingham follow

Mon 31 Oct 2022 - Sat 05 Nov 2022

Transforming the famous Baz Luhrmann ballroom film into a stage musical is a canny move amid the frenzy for Strictly Come Dancing.

There's plenty of names from the BBC dance contest connected to this new Strictly Ballroom The Musical tour too. Former contestant Maisie Smith and professional dancer Kevin Clifton plus the choreographer and director is no other than TV judge Craig Revel Horwood.The musical is on at Birmingham Hippodrome from November 1 to 5. The nostalgia associated with this classic movie starts from the moment you walk into the auditorium. There's old pop hits playing like Kylie and Jason to get you in the mood before an introductory message plays from Revel Horwood in his original Australian voice.For those of you who haven't seen the movie, Strictly Ballroom is about a shy 'ugly duckling' dancing beginner Fran whose besotted with rebellious dancer Scott Hastings. He's been dumped by his partner for defying tradition by performing new steps at a championship.

Fran plucks up the courage to tell him she is willing to dance his way if he can teach her ballroom. It's Australia's answer to Dirty Dancing - romantic, funny but more quirky. EastEnders star Smith plays Fran and there's an element of Neighbours' Plain Jane Superbrain about her progression from class nerd to stunner. It seems all she has to do is take off her glasses but Smith is obviously a beautiful young actress. She's also a surprisingly good singer and the fact she's not a professional dancer works well in this show as Fran is meant to be a beginner. That said, Maisie picked up a lot from her time on Strictly as her dancing is impressive.

When it comes to the ballroom, that's where Clifton shines. His acting is OK and he's got a decent enough voice but, as expected, his dancing is superb. Clifton has a team of ballroom dancers supporting him for the big numbers but overshadowing them all is sensational Jose Agudo as Fran's father, Rico. His solo paso doble sequence that leads to the Act One finale is mesmerising. A trained Flamenco dancer from Andalucia, he's a real highlight in the show. The leads of Clifton and Smith make a good pair. She's more natural on stage from her years of acting. I saw Clifton in Rock of Ages playing rocker Stacie Jaxx, which didn't really suit him but this role as a ballroom dancer is a much better fit.

This show isn't just about the dancing, there's the hilarious slightly ridiculous storyline too. It's carefree feel-good fun with plenty of sparkle. Then there are the songs. Along with those from the movie soundtrack like Love is in the Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and Time After Time, there are new songs written by the likes of Australian pop star Sia and more. It's romantic and heartfelt that makes your heart soar at the big finale to Love Is In The Air. Pure feel-good fun with a touch of Strictly sparkle.

RATING: & #9733 ;& #9733 ;& #9733 ;& #9733 ;& #9734 ;

#theatre -reviews
!date 31/10/2022 -- 05/11/2022
70794 - 2023-01-26 01:49:26


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