I love a good musical and, while Strictly Ballroom at the West Yorkshire Playhouse might not reach the heights of a Sondheim or a Rodgers & Hammerstein for character and depth of feeling, there is an enjoyable love story and some excellent dancing. The good news is, it can be seen in London in 2018.
Anyone who liked Dirty Dancing or Footloose should love this. If you don’t know Baz Luhrmann‘s film, it’s the story of a pair of ballroom dancers determined to express themselves their way, even if that means breaking the rules. Freedom versus the establishment is always a good story. Along the way they inevitably fall in love and equally inevitably face bumps in the road to finally getting together.
If that sounds like a formulaic show, I don’t mean it to. It’s lively, inventive, often funny and sometimes moving. In any case, we don’t need the most original story for a musical to work. What’s most important is the terrific choreography by Drew McOnie (his work includes last year’s brilliant On The Town at the Open Air Theatre). The dancing and the singing are impressive throughout.
Strictly Ballroom The Musical is playing at the Piccadilly Theatre from 29 March 2018. Jonny Labey and Zizi Strallen will perform the lead roles with Will Young playing the newly created role of band leader Wally Strand. Drew McOnie again directs and choreographs.
Here’s my YouTube review of the original West Yorkshire Playhouse production-