STRICTLY BALLROOM (musical)
Audio described performance: 28th August 2018 at 7.30pm.
Signed performance: 20th September 2018 at 7.30pm.
Captioned performance: 25th September at 7.30pm.
Nothing to do with the difference between "boxers" and "Y-fronts," this
is based on the Baz Luhrmann film.
Rebel dancer Scott tries to win the Pan Pacific contest with his "two
left feet" lover Fran.
Will Young is currently scheduled to appear in the show only until 28th
Jonny Labey will not appear on 18th August 2018 and 10th to 22nd
September 2018 inclusive. Cast holiday details are given for information only,
and Theatremonkey.com CANNOT take responsibility for any issue arising
from the accuracy or otherwise of these details, nor guest use of this
For an account of the press launch on 14th February 2018, see the
Photo credit: Jay Brookes. Used by kind permission.
(seen at the afternoon preview performance on 18th April 2018)
The monkey has never seen the movie on which this show is apparently based, so
it has nothing to compare it to. It has, however, over the years logged around
2000 musical theatre visits, recording listening and video watchings. This, it
feels it can say safely, is unique.
Wally Strand (Will Young) is our host. He sings all the songs, and the rest
of the cast dance to them. By failing to connect a score with a book, a story
with a lyric, there’s not much to hang an entire evening on. In themselves the
numbers are nicely chosen, the movement to them enjoyable to watch. When the
music ends, though, it’s often back to the rather dreary – and it was telling
that the show only soared those times music and action matched.
There’s a story of sorts, and the songs sometimes move it along or at least open
up the emotions, “Time After Time” being the best marriage by far. Mostly, though,
they attempt to set an atmosphere where it isn’t necessarily required, or
provide a backdrop to Drew McOnie’s sensational choreographic abilities. This
show really is all about the dance.
The lead dancers shine. Just when you think Scott Hastings (Jonny Labey) and
Fran (Zizi Strallen) have best dancers sewn up... Rico (Fernando Mira) turns in
a performance that must not be missed. The show reaches its highest pinnacle in
his sensational solo routine, justifying the ticket price and visit.
Shirley and Doug Hastings (Anna Francolini / Stephen Matthews) throw in a bid
too, and Tina Sparkle (Charlotte Gooch) plus Michelle Bishop also deserve full
Catherine Martin’s costumes aren’t quite as effective close-up, but put the
ladies in the huge gowns, and the effect is never short of stunning. Take the
gowns off and, well, some gents will pay more for seats close to the stage, is
all the monkey is saying. For the normal observer, though, the skill and body
forms are breathtaking and beautiful.
Sadly, when there is no dancing going on, it’s all a bit of a mess. The
Australian accents can be impenetrable, Soutra Gilmour’s set, having to be
sparse for dancing, isn’t that interesting and, sadly, neither is the story.
There’s a potentially quite satisfying “book musical” in there, somewhere, but
unlike the similar “42nd Street” (the dancing here is equal, for certain)
grafting old numbers to a tale is neither seamless nor anywhere near as
See it for the terpsichorean, even the 1980s songs, but for the monkey, it was a
rather incomplete affair.