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BrumHour saw Strictly Ballroom the Musical at the invite of Birmingham Hippodrome.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains, strong language including homophobic slurs and sexually suggestive moments.
Review: Strictly Ballroom the Musical at Birmingham Hippodrome
⭐⭐⭐⭐”FOUR… Out of Five!”
Directed and co-choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, co-choreographed by Jason Gilkison, book by Craig Pearce and Baz Luhrmann
Baz Luhrmann‘s Strictly Ballroom comes to the stage in this musical version of his 1992 film of the same name, which itself is based on his previous play. Kevin Clifton plays Scott Hastings a talented ballroom dancer who is seen as a rebel by his peers in the competitive world of ballroom dancing. His parents (Mark Sangster and Nikki Belsher) have differing views on the success they want for their son, whilst local girl Fran (Maisie Smith) just wants to dance with him.
There is a lot to love about this production which features hit songs Time after Time and Love Is In The Air Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps sung in Spanish and Tequila. There were plenty of pure Baz Lurhmann moments in the music throughout particularly in the sounds of the dance moments, with particular staple sounds I associate with Moulin Rouge (Lurhmann’s biggest hit echoing in my mind).
The show indulges the audience is full dance performances, the type we are used to on Strictly Come Dancing plus the songs written for the show get a spotlight too. (Literally!)
Maisie Smith‘s dancing talent continues to elevate and her signing vocals are excellent, her Aussie accent is softer than I expected it to be but still detectable, and she is borderline geeky enough to play the glasses-wearing Fran, I’d have preferred some of the stage movements to take place after her vocals rather than during but the show must go on!
Kevin Clifton is totally assured in his role as Scott, slightly shy vocally, you can see the work he’s put in but another Lurhmann trait is to put shy vocalists into roles and bring their voices from them.
This is a fun show which feels larger than the compact touring set and the ideas of overcoming challenges and prejudice are treated carefully without being too preachy. Craig Revel Horwood has treated the directing with love and cafe and it is apparent throughout.
⭐⭐⭐⭐”FOUR… Out of Five!” Strictly Ballroom the Musical is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 5th November. Book tickets here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/strictly-ballroom.