Culture Street

Theatre

Review: Strictly Ballroom the Musical

On April 30, 2014

By Sophia Whitfield
Strictly Ballroom had its inception in 1984 when Baz Luhrmann was a NIDA graduate. It went on to become the 1992 film starring Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice which launched Luhrmann’s name as a creative director into the spotlight.

Together with long time collaborators, writer Craig Pearce, choreographer John O’Connell and costume designer Catherine Martin, Luhrmann has created a dazzling new musical production, transforming his much loved film for a new audience.

Luhrmann has reinvented his film as a magical musical with all the glitter and glamour we have come to expect from a Luhrmann production. Before the show has even begun you know you are in for a treat. Posters advertising that elusive tan are scattered around the walls of the auditorium transforming the theatre back to the 1990s.

The story centres on young dancer Scott Hastings (Thomas Lacey) who defies the strictly ballroom moves keen to develop his own daring style. With a reputation for challenging the rules that moderate dance competitions Scott finds himself without a partner. Fran (Phoebe Panaretos) is the invisible girl with glasses desperately seeking a new life. Her dancing is clumsy at best, but with no other option Hastings begins to dance with Fran.

Heather Mitchell is fabulous as Hastings’s pushy mother Shirley Hastings. Fran’s Spanish family are played by the outstanding Fernando Mira and Natalie Gamsu, both of whom teach Scott how to dance the lively paso doble with drama and passion. The dance numbers led by Mira are extraordinary.

Glitter balls and sequins are on display in this upbeat re-imagining of the well known 1992 film. It will certainly add a touch of sparkle to your night.

Strictly Ballroom the Musical is currently playing at the Sydney Lyric.

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