Piccadilly Theatre, London
Full of high energy and dazzling costumes, there is no denying that there has been a huge amount of attention to detail in this production. However, there are elements of this show I really struggled with and can absolutely see why it may not be to everyone’s taste.
The show, in my opinion, requires some further refinement, at times appearing chaotic and almost shambolic, with the stage just not big enough to accommodate the cast and scenery. Some of the Australian accents also seem to travel. I’ve swayed massively on my star rating. That said we at CarnsTheatrePassion are all about positively and at the end of the day, I left with my heart full of joy and a massive smile on my face, feeling thoroughly entertained and this is the reason why I fell on the generous side.
The lead Jonny Labey as Scott does not put a foot wrong, rarely leaving the stage, the sense of power and dynamite ability there for all to see. Equally matched as always by the incomparable Zizi Strallen as “beginner dancer” Fran. The parallels with Dirty Dancing were at times brought to the forefront of my mind and indeed why shouldn’t they be? Full of nostalgia and a slew of hit numbers sung by Will Young. Talking of Young whose role seemed to be superfluous to proceedings at times and even awkward. Whilst I have no issue with the delivery, I’m not sure if his movement added value. As I’ve previously stated, this is a large production, with little room, and at times collision was inevitable.
Comedy performances are in huge supply here, none more so than the ‘President Trump’ looking Barry Fife played by Gerard Horan. Whilst some of the sexist commentary would make you cringe, it is the delivery that reminds you that this is of the era. Other laughs are provided by Anna Francolini, Richard Grieve, Gabriela Garcia and Ivan De Freitas. Charlotte Gooch does indeed sparkle as Tina Sparkle and dances beautifully with Gary Watson.
Returning to the story this show of course is called Strictly Ballroom and the choreography as expected by Drew McOnie is simply sublime. The outstanding cast deliver it with grace and talent and superbly showcase what this production is all about.
Lovers of the film should adore this show, with its full-on dance competition circuit glamour. It has all the sparkle and dazzling choreography you’d wish to see and the cast are superb. For me there were fundamental flaws but that did not deter me from immensely enjoying it. If anything I’d say they need a bigger space to really do it justice. Its brash, bold and bonkers but oh such enjoyable fun!
STRICTLY BALLROOM THE MUSICAL – LISTINGS INFORMATION
Created by Baz Luhrmann
Book by Baz Luhrmann & Craig Pearce
Directed & Choreographed by Drew McOnie
Set Design by Soutra Gilmour
Costume Design by Catherine Martin
Lighting Design by Howard Hudson
Sound Design by Gareth Owen
Musical Supervision by David Caddick
Orchestrations by Simon Hale
16 Denman Street
First performance: Thursday 29th March 2018
Monday – Saturday: 7.30pm
Matinees: Wednesday & Saturday, 2.30pm
Prices from £15
0844 871 7630
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