Posted on 22 December 2016.
The totally fabulous ‘Strictly Ballroom The Musical’ is at the West Yorkshire Playhouse until Saturday 21st January and, if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you get a ticket! The show is so funny, colourful, and with great music and dancing. Everyone left smiling from ear to ear after a prolonged standing ovation.
This is the first time that Baz Luhrmann’s musical (which followed on from his play and worldwide best selling film), has been performed outside Australia. A co-production by Global Creatures – the team behind Walking With Dinosaurs, How To Train Your Dragon, and King Kong – and West Yorkshire Playhouse, Strictly Ballroom is captivating for all ages.
The show is all about finding the right partner in life. It is the inspiring story of star-crossed lovers from different ethnicities, one a championship ballroom dancer who defies all the rules to follow his heart. It features numbers such as ‘Love is in the Air’, ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’ and ‘Time After Time’, as well as several new songs by internationally acclaimed artists including Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect.
Like millions of dancers across the world, director and choreographer Drew McOnie was inspired by the movie as a young dancer – and recently his dazzling choreography for ‘In The Heights’ earned him the 2016 Olivier Award.
“I am incredibly excited about the dynamic and diverse company we have put together to create Strictly Ballroom”, said Drew. “It literally comes from all over the world. There was no compromising on casting, and it was very difficult as there had to be a level of authenticity.”
The role of Fran is played by Gemma Sutton, who starred in ‘Gypsy’ and ‘The Go-Between’ in the West End. Sam Lips, as Scott, recently starred on Broadway and is making his UK debut. And, two familiar faces from The Playhouse’s 2015 hit musical ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ are Tamsin Carroll and Stephen Matthews who will play Shirley and Doug, Scott’s parents, the ambitious mother who runs the local dance school and her henpecked husband whose past achievements are finally revealed.
Fran’s father and grandmother are of Spanish origin – a great opportunity to introduce a little flamenco from Fernando Mira, Australia’s foremost flamenco dancer. One of the most touching scenes is with Fran and her grandmother, played by Eve Polycarpou, when they sing ‘Love is a Leap of Faith’.
Julius D’Silva’s Barry Fife, with his particularly mobile hair-piece, was quite hilarious; Richard Grieve as co-owner of the dance school, was excellent; and Charlotte Gooch as Tina Sparkle….sparkled! The whole cast was superb and the show delighted everyone in the audience.
“I want people to walk away knowing that they have seen a brilliant story, not solely a dance show”, said Drew. “I would like people to feel inspired and leave with a revised sense of ambition.”
I think they certainly did that! Don’t miss this chance to see another great show at The Playhouse. It’s touching, very funny, and you just won’t want it to end!
“We’re thrilled to have such talented and experienced performers at the Playhouse”, said James Brining, Artistic Director, West Yorkshire Playhouse. “We pride ourselves on producing exceptional musical theatre and we are building a reputation for showcasing world-class musicals here in Leeds. Strictly Ballroom follows on from the huge success of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which is still touring nationally.”