By: Dulcie Harrison, TRP Reviewer
With a large swish of glitter, rhinestones and glam, Strictly Ballroom has waltzed on to the stage of our beloved Theatre Royal Plymouth, running from 30 January to 4th February.
The new touring musical is based on the 90’s Baz Luhrmann film of the same name and previous West End musical – so expect some differences if you have seen it before. If you’re a fan of Strictly Come Dancing you will be familiar with Craig Revel Horwood, and he has played an integral part in the choreography of this version to bring the love and passion of the open amateur ballroom dance championships to audiences across the country. Kevin
Clifton plays Scott Hastings, a young emerging ballroom star with strong family ties to ballroom fame. His energy is unfaltering throughout the show, the round of applause received as soon as he graced the stage confirmed, if nothing else, Plymouth is a huge Strictly fan!
Determined to dance to his own beat and introduce new steps, he sends shockwaves through the local dance community and outrage in competition circles when Barry Fife, played by Gary Davis, threatens disqualification and ruin if he doesn’t play by the rules. The pressure felt by Scott causes him to find solace in the arms of Fran, played endearingly by Maisie Smith. Desperate to prove she has what it takes, the pair fumble their way through dance routines beyond her capabilities and, in a story reminiscent of Dirty Dancing, you begin to look forward to the end result when it all just works.
The show is interjected with high energy dances with amazing choreography and fills the stage with colour, sequins, costume changes right in front of you and they only get better and better as the show continues, emphasising the pure beauty and spectacle of theatre.
One show stopping moment for me was the beautiful, powerful and simply captivating Latin dance at the end of the Act 1. The excellence and perfection shown when they allowed themselves to feel the beat and explode with pure passion was amazing. A true highlight which ignited the whole auditorium!
The stage designed by Mark Walters is beautifully lit from the start, subtle changes of colour make such a pretty backdrop to the show and lends itself effortlessly to the many scene changes needed to take you from the dance studio to the dance floor. Full of twinkles and sparkles and subtle enchantment, it adds to the magical mood of this glamorous show.
The costumes are everything you can imagine they would be, an array of colours with sequins that catch every ray of light from the glitterball, in a word- beautiful!
The show is fast paced, humorous, hilariously shocking in places, and will have you laughing and shimmying in your seat! Look past the attempts at an Aussie accents and enjoy the spectacular supporting cast put on a real show, enjoy the love story, champion the underdog and just be entertained by a show that will make you want cha-cha-cha all the way back to your car.