strictly ballroom

Culturebean at | Strictly Ballroom the Musical | West Yorkshire Playhouse

The Production

Last week Show Film First emailed me with a last minute juicy offer to see the matinee performance of Strictly Ballroom the Musical in Leeds, so of course I snapped them up quickly!

I waltzed my way over to Leeds with very little knowledge of Strictly Ballroom but a lot of passion for the BBC hit Strictly Come Dancing and a huge appreciation for Baz Luhrmann, so I was fairly confident I’d enjoy the show. And wow was I right!

A gigantic glittering disco ball hung directly over the action and highlighted the sequins in the colour bomb costumes that filled the stage. The impressive set had choreography of it’s own that stylishly transformed for each scene. I have to admit, that was one clever piece of engineering. And the music exploded from the sidelines to deliver a surprisingly catchy soundtrack.

The Story

We were transported into a retro ballroom world, with a show that knew how to make fun of itself. Thanks to excellent comedy moments and characters. Such as ‘thinks he’s god gift to women and is the best dancer to ever live’ competitor Ken. He had me in stitches with his fake tan, white hair and outrageous swagger.

Just like in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing the leading man Scott, a Champion Ballroom Dancer, falls in love with his beginner partner Fran. She is all too ready to embrace a new style and man for that matter… Here begins a love story that reminded me of Dirty Dancing, with the ‘teaching her to dance’ montage and all.

Scott battled with his emotions throughout and struggled to decide if he should dance on his own terms or follow the rules to please others. A dramatic dance scene in the first half encompassed this feeling. It truly knocked the air out of me as it was so powerful. It had an air of the Billy Elliot Angry Dance.

The first half finale was undoubtedly my favourite part of the whole show. Fran’s introduced Scott to her family, who softly mocked his Pasodoble. They ended up teaching him the passion that he lacked to pull it off. They delivered a strong, stylised and exciting number. Fran’s family injected some spice to match the sugar in this production.

The Verdict

Overall, the first half was a lot stronger than the second, but the energy and fun was never lacking throughout. The whole cast poured everything into their performances and the stage seemed electric.

Strictly Ballroom the Musical genuinely made me happy. I felt as if I was glowing by the end and that all my troubles had dissolved into nothingness. I don’t think I will forget this musical in a hurry, and I would most certainly watch it over and over and over again in a heartbeat. I’m sure it’d get a much sought after ten from Len.

Next year I am actually launching a Culturebean Youtube Channel, which will reveal the girl behind the blog and follow my cultural adventures. Strictly Ballroom is the first official trip I have vlogged, and the finished edit will be online in January!

Buy tickets before it finishes on 21st January https://www.wyp.org.uk/

FYI This blog will remain focused on reviews and my vlog will compliment it with what I get up to before, during and after!

Image Credits: West Yorkshire Playhouse

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