Simply brilliant. Strangely breath-taking. Strictly Ballroom The Musical was everything I hoped it would be and worried it wouldn’t deliver.
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.
Noel Sullivan will forever be a member of Hear’say first and foremost to me, the product of one of first of this generation of Saturday night music talent show – Popstars – but since then, a career in musical theatre has beckoned and it is on that, rather than his pop star life, that his debut album concentrates.
It is now Drew McOnie who takes the directorial chair, the choreographer-director’s rising star an ideal fit for a musical all about dance. And what dance it is.
Joe Stilgoe, the piano man, holds the stage as we settle, receiving a fusillade of unhelpful audience requests (“Bolero! Summertime! Pink Panther! Prokoffiev’s ninth!” – that last from Andrew Marr, cheeky monkey). Brilliantly, he delivers them simultaneously, singing Summertime over Bolero chords, and getting audience participation in Fever. Crafty to set a cabaret mood before we get down to business with “Come see the rich of Oyster Bay / On this their daughter’s wedding day!” as the silver piano sinks ingeniously into the floor.