This version of Look Back in Anger is from 30 odd years later and was mounted by Renaissance Theatre, then a relatively new company formed by a young Kenneth Branagh. The play was directed by Judi Dench, his is a made for television re-creation from 1989.
In summary, stage adaptations of films should be justified by bringing something new to a well-known story, and Strictly Ballroom misses the mark on this point.
What it is is a strong piece of musical theatre. Drew McOnie may be the director but he’s a choreographer through and through and it is here that Strictly Ballroom shines.
Anna Francolini and Gerard Horan will join previously announced Jonny Labey, Zizi Strallen and Will Young in the company for Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical.
I always find it fascinating to watch how the critical community deals with a play that becomes a big success. The overnight rush to acclaim genius, the enthusiasm with which some greet it, the scepticism that that inspires in others followed by the relief that comes when someone publishes a well-reasoned critique that allows them to say ‘well it isn’t that good, see’.
The play’s the thing though and here, Butterworth has constructed a Northern Irish epic. Set at harvest-time in 1981, deep in County Armagh, the Carney clan are gathering for a humdinger of a do once the work in the field is done.