Strictly Ballroom the Musical is a romantic comedy which dances to the beat of the iconic 1990s Australian play and film by Baz Luhrmann that opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week.
Directed and co-choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel-Horwood, this two-hour 20-minute show swayed into the city theatre on Monday night, July 10, to an appreciative toe-tapping audience.
And all the glitz and glamour on stage was rewarded with a standing ovation at the end of opening night.
As a huge fan of musicals and a regular theatre goer, I unusually knew very little about the show until it began, unlike my mum who is clued up on anything Strictly related and was thrilled when I revealed we had tickets!
The lead roles of Scott Hastings is being played by none other than Strictly Come Dancing 2019 champion and new dad Kevin Clifton, along with Corrie star and Dancing on Ice finalist, Faye Brooks, as Fran.
When rebellious and arrogant young ballroom dancer, Scott falls out of favour with the Australian Dance Federation, he finds himself without a partner until he meets beginner Fran, who persuades him to take a chance on her.
Together, they find the courage to defy tradition, and discover that to win, their steps don’t need to be Strictly Ballroom!
Craig Revel-Horwood describes the show as an almost Romeo and Juliet love story but without the tragic ending, with Fran coming from a religious Spanish family with a flamenco dance tradition, unlike Scott who is from the ballroom world.
Combine that with a bit of Dirty Dancing and Grease, and the result is this glitterball smash hit!
There were a few adult themed moments, mostly involving Barry Fife, played by Ben Harrold, which were quite unexpected, but had the oh so slightly older ladies next to me rip roaring with laughter!
As head of the Australian Dance Federation, he does not want dancers breaking the rules and resorts to underhand tactics to try and stop it, affecting everyone in his path and leaving fellow dancing professionals conflicted.
When you think of anything Strictly, you think of dancing and blindingly beautiful costumes, both of which were in abundance.
It also featured smash hit songs Love is in the Air; Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps; and Time after Time, as well as new music written by acclaimed artists Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect.
My favourite part of the show was the Pasodoble scene performed by Fran’s father Rico (Jose Agudo), as well as being able to watch Kevin Clifton perform up close, rather than on a TV screen.
Strictly Ballroom the Musical is on every evening until Saturday, July 15, with an extra matinee performance on the Saturday.
ath July or there is a matinee performance on Saturday, starting at 2.30pm.
It is almost a sell-out with some fans buying their tickets when they first went on sale in 2020.
To enjoy a myriad of dance, some romance, a bit of drama, naughtiness and comedy click HERE for the online box office.
Tickets start from £13 plus booking fee.
WORDS: Trudi Hodges
PHOTOS: Ellie Kurttz
POSTER: Danny Kaan