Theatre Review: Strictly Ballroom at Norwich Theatre Royal

Theatre Review: Strictly Ballroom at Norwich Theatre Royal

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I remember watching the film Strictly Ballroom for the first time as a teenager, and falling absolutely in love with it. When I found out that it was FINALLY being made into a stage show, I couldn’t wait to see it. I was lucky enough to see it at Norwich Theatre Royal.

About the show

Strictly Ballroom the Musical, based on the award-winning world-wide film phenomenon, is heading out to tour the UK and Ireland, starring Strictly Come Dancing’s Kevin Clifton and Coronation Street’s Faye Brookes.

With direction from dancer, choreographer, theatre director and Britain’s favourite TV Judge, Craig Revel Horwood, Strictly Ballroom the Musical will be will be foxtrotting around the UK from September 2020.

Bringing together a cast of over 20 world class performers, Strictly Ballroom the Musical follows rebellious young ballroom dancer, Scott Hastings. When his radical dance style see him fall out of favour with Australian Federation, he must dance with beginner, Fran. Together they find the courage to defy tradition and discover that to win, your steps don’t need to be strictly ballroom!

Featuring toe tapping numbers such as Love is in the Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and Time After Time, as well as several wonderful new songs by internationally acclaimed artists including Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect. This spectacle is sure to make for an unforgettable evening under the glitter ball that will send your heart soaring!

Credit Ellie Kurttz

What did I think…

Being such a fan of the film, I was a bit worried about any changes that might have been made or things that might have been left out. However, so much from the film was incorporated into the stage show. That 90s Australian charm complete with mullets and spray tans, was perfect. 

Strictly Ballroom Production Photos
Credit Ellie Kurttz

Faye Brooks wows as Fran, a bit of a frumpy, no-one who seems to just get in everybody’s way. She has just the right amount of awkwardness mixed with humour. It’s so funny to see someone dance badly, when you know they can in fact dance quite well. 

I was excited about Kevin Clifton as Scott Hastings as soon as I heard about the casting. As a  big fan of Strictly Come Dancing, I couldn’t wait to see him dance on the stage. He did a fantastic job as the leading man, a little bit arrogant, and a bit full of himself but someone you cannot help but root for. 

Strictly Ballroom Prodcution Photos 2023
Credit Ellie Kurttz

Fans of the film will be expecting big things from a couple of scenes in particular, namely the Paso Doble. Hairs stood up on the end of my arms the minute that music started. Tears filled my eyes at the finale, when Scott and Fran finally get to dance their own way and show everyone what they can do together. 

A basic set on stage shifts effortlessly from the dance studio, to Fran’s home and then the ballroom. Costumes are as glitzy and sparkly as you’d imagine them to be, with floaty ballroom dresses and barely there Latin outfits. Even on a small stage, it felt like you were in the ballroom watching the competition at times. 

Strictly Ballroom is the musical I seem to have waited a lifetime for and it was absolutely magical. You’ll struggle to walk out of the theatre without a huge smile on your face, and you’ll probably be singing along with the soundtrack days later. 

Strictly Ballroom is at Norwich Theatre Royal until 15th April. Find out more venues and tour dates here.

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