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Strictly Ballroom - The Musical

Wolverhampton Grand


Baz Luhrmann’s 1992 cult movie Strictly Ballroom was given it’s stage debut back in 2014 and now gets a fresh revival in this major UK tour, directed by Craig Revel Horwood.

The Grand Theatre, still buzzing after a sell out fortnight of Mamma Mia, plays host to another feast of song and dance in the form of this stylised tale of boy meets girl on the ballroom dance floor.

Plot wise, its pretty much a variant of a well used theme. Girl next door dreams of getting her big break …meets a guy who gives her a chance … they fall in love and dance into the sunset. There’s more to it than that… of course… but it’s essentially a vehicle for slick choreography, some nicely arranged versions of classic songs and some cleverly drawn characters along the way.

Kevin Clifton swaps his TV Strictly Pro role for the feisty Australian ballroom dancer, Scott Hastings. Clifton’s dance ability is expected and indeed delivered, but what is more of a surprise is his more than decent singing voice.

His duets with his new partner, Fran (Maisie Smith ) are genuinely uplifting and provide a sweet contrast to the frenetic dance sequences that punctuate the show.

Smith engages the audience well, especially in the early scenes as the couple get to know each other over faltering dance steps, a blossoming attraction and a determination to take first prize. It’s an endearing chemistry that gives them both real warmth onstage.

Jose Agudo sets pulses racing in a show stopping flamenco whilst Karen Mann adds gravitas and wisdom to proceedings as Abuela.

A strong ensemble ensures pace is never lost and huge credit to Mark Walters for his hugely impressive set and costume design. The curved, elegant walls sit well in the majestic setting of the Grand theatre and the riot of costume colour is at times breath taking.

MD, Dustin Conrad leads a slick band, covering an eclectic mix of musical style and arrangements.

Packed full of colour, vibrancy and style with routines that hit the spot. Partner up and grab a ticket while you can. Runs until Sat. 18th Feb.

Tom Roberts


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