Hosted by Will Young, who will be starring in Strictly Ballroom The Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre from 29 March, the launch of the production offered all the sequinned glamour you would expect.
Young, who will play bandleader Wally Stand, sang the two breakout pop hits from the show, ‘Time After Time’ and ‘Love is in the Air’, and the cast twirled and sparkled around him in a whirl of colour and glamour.
There were also speeches from the director/choreographer Drew McOnie and Baz Luhrmann’s longtime collaborator Catherine Martin.
For me though, the highlight was the flamenco number performed by Fernando Mira who plays Fran’s dad Rico. Genuinely breathtaking, I couldn’t take my eyes off his flying feet.
I’ve loved the film of Strictly Ballroom since I was a teenager. I have had a crush on Scott Hastings most of my life and have always over-identified with Fran (and it will be interesting to see how they translate her journey from not quite ugly ducking to quirky beauty to the stage where such things are harder). But it was always the older Hastings whose story I found the most compelling.
Doug and Shirley weren’t centre stage at the launch, understandably when you have such a glamorous cast. But for the show to touch me as much as the film does it needs that ending when Doug reaches out for Shirley. That’s the tear jerker for me and the moment that we know that love can be in the air for everyone.
All in all, I am so excited about Strictly Ballroom, I feel like Wayne finally grasping the Bogo Pogo, like Scott learning to Paso Doble, like Fran learning not to be scared. I want to waltz all the way to the theatre.