Magazine article Variety

Strictly Ballroom

Magazine article Variety

Strictly Ballroom

Article excerpt

THEATER REVIEW / U.K.

Strictly Ballroom

Theater: West Yorkshire Playhouse; 1,100 seats; £40($50)top

Director: Drew McOnie

Starring: Sam Lips, Gemma Sutton

"Strictly Ballroom" started out on stage: Baz Luhrmann's cult movie about competitive dancing was originally a student play. His own musical adaptation, revised since its Australian premiere two years ago, brings it full circle - but in doing so loses its tongue-in-cheek tone. Despite a lush staging from director/choreographer Drew McOnie, this out-of-town tryout in Leeds sees its irony dwindle; as it does, Luhrmann's story of an against-the-odds triumph stops being subversive and starts being simplistic, if not sentimental.

At heart, Luhrmann's plot is both an ugly-duckling tale and a fable about freedom of expression. Disqualified for dancing his own non-regulation steps, the buckish Scott Hastings (Sam Lips) sets out to defy the sport's ruling federation and its rigid restrictions. Having lost his ambitious partner to a flashy rival, he trains a willing novice, Fran (Gemma Sutton), and, with a little help from her Paso Dobleing parents, the wallflower blossoms: A cleaner with two left feet becomes the belle of ballroom dancing. Terry Johnson's revised book might be clumsy in places, but the film's message survives well and truly intact - above all else, it says, dance to your own beat.

If the score, a mix of forgettable new numbers by Eddie Perfect and '80s jukebox classics like Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," is somewhat soupy, it's counterbalanced by exhilarating choreography. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.