Review: Strictly Ballroom: The Musical, Wales Millennium Centre

Rachel and Seren Howells visit Wales Millennium Centre for a new stage presentation of Strictly Ballroom.

As you walked up to the auditorium in the Wales Millennium Centre you would soon hear the joyous music that was creating the atmosphere in building up Monday evening’s musical. Based on Baz Luhrmann’s award-winning film, Strictly Ballroom: The Musical tells the story of Scott Hastings, a championship ballroom dancer who defies all the rules to follow his heart.

The musical opens just as them film with the Southern Districts Waratah Championships taking place while we are introduced to all the main characters.  We then follow the story of Scott Hastings and his desire to open up the ballroom dancing competitions to become more popular with the public.

As a huge fan of the original film, I did struggle a little with some elements that were missing from this version.  When you convert a well-known film, sometimes elements are lost in the translation to the stage.

Strictly Ballroom: The Musical at Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre.

While Kevin Clifton is celebrating the birth of his daughter, Edwin Ray played Scott Hastings flawlessly with the most perfect Australian accent.  He worked well with Maisie Smith as Fran, they really developed their relationship throughout the show.  Maisie was a revelation with the most beautiful singing voice and great characterisation.

As there was an announcement at the beginning of the show stating several cast changes, the cast showed how versatile they were playing many different roles without displaying any faults and even though it included loads of different types of dancing none of the quality suffered, it was a spectacle on stage.

Jose Agudo (Rico) and Karen Mann (Abuela) closed the first act with the most perfect Paso Doble scene.  The standout performance of the show which included incredible dancing and it had captured the audience attention and you couldn’t stop watching.

The dazzling costumes shined on stage and worked really well with choreography; we loved the way the costumes moved with the steps they were performing on stage. The choreography during competition scenes really portrayed what it’s like in a real ballroom competition and the creative use of different styles of ballroom created full and energetic dances to watch.

The set was really imaginative and proved to be very versatile, the use of the lighting created very different looks from the dancing rehearsal room to the ballroom for the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship.

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