Strictly Ballroom ★★★★✰
Every now and then a show flys into theatres that involves more sequins and glitter that you can shake a stick at ... this was DEFIANTLY one of those shows!
Set in Australia in the crazy world of Ballroom competition, the show focuses on Scott Hastings (Johnny Labey), a young boy wanting to break out of the norm. There's no denying Labey's skill on the dance floor but it he's ability to adapt to different dances that make him really stand out. When joined by Fran (Zizi Strallen), you're blown away by the chemistry of the two. Strallen's character has the perfect edge of adorable and elegance, when she dances her elegance shines through and even when the dancing gets intense her characters adorableness doesn't leave.
Will Young ... Remember that name? Stars as the lovely host of the Ballroom competition, Wally Strand. Young has the comedy timing down like the best of them, however, I felt his voice let him down. Although a great singer, it's clear Young is not a musical theatre star and at points I felt his voice was not as strong as it could have been and couldn't help but feel that someone else may have been better for the role.
From the start of the show you could predict the ending but this didn't take away any elements from it, you were still awe struck by the amount of talent each dancer had on stage; "Watching this makes me want to learn how to Ballroom dance" said a friend of mine, and I was right behind her on that, you were mesmerised.
There's a couple of things I wasn't too keen on, first thing would be Shirley Hastings (Anna Francolini), although clearly a very funny actress, I couldn't help cringe a little at her over the top interpretation of Scott Hastings mother, at times if felt a bit over acting and had almost a pants feel to it. (Think Kath and Kim do Panto!)
Although this show focused on the dancing, it is classed as a musical and maybe I'm wrong but I would expect more then one person singing, Young sang through the whole show with the main characters singing one or two lines but not till the end, I felt it would have been nice to have more variety of voices, especially as I didn't feel Young's voice was strong enough to carry a whole show by himself.
This show is perfect for all the family and anyone who loves ballroom dancing, the comedy in this show was perfectly timed and the direction was perfect. There was a full theatre standing at the end cheering and clapping, I'd be surprised if that didn't happen every night.
Strictly Ballroom is currently showing at the Piccadilly Theatre