Strictly Ballroom The Musical: Review

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Guest Post by David Thomas 

A jobbing actor/playwright from Stratford, by way of Southwark, once penned (or rather quilled) the line: “To thine own self be true,”  and although British musicals did not emerge until 130 years after Hamlet, “To thine own self be true” is the credo, theme, watermark of almost every remarkable musical ever written (and probably ever to be written).  In Strictly Ballroom The Musical (based on the Baz “Moulin Rouge” Luhrmann cult movie) the forces threatening the individuality of the two young central characters, Scott and Fran, are the authorities governing the world of Australian ballroom dancing.

Here tradition and conformity are imposed with an iron hand, primarily through the hilarious Trump-like figure of Federation President, Barry Fife, who sees dancers ‘doing their own thing’ as a potentially lethal threat to his livelihood as a producer of ballroom dancing instruction videos.  The battle lines drawn, the stage is set for a fabulous evening of brilliantly interwoven scenes of hilarious comedy and breathtakingly beautiful dance numbers, which we are led through by the mercurial figure of Wally Strand, played to perfection by Will Young.  And of course, love is in the air…  So to your own selves be true, and have yourselves a wonderful evening at Strictly Ballroom The Musical, the best thing to come out of Australia since Mel Gibson.

 

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