Review: Strictly Ballroom: The Musical, Mayflower Theatre, February 20

Review: Strictly Ballroom: The Musical, Mayflower Theatre, February 20

by Tessa Hurst.

Strictly Ballroom: The Musical has been adapted from the 1992 Baz Luhrmann film of the same name, set in the Australian ballroom dancing scene in the early nineties. This show has been directed and co-choreographed by well-known Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood, and his flamboyance definitely shines through. Craig’s voice introduces the show in his native Australian accent and gives a hint of the fun and humour that is about to come.

The show tells the beguiling story of Scott Hastings, a talented, arrogant and rebellious young ballroom dancer.

When Scott’s radical dance moves see him fall out of favor with the Australian Federation, he finds himself dancing with Fran, a beginner with no moves at all.

Inspired by one another, this unlikely pair gather the courage to defy both convention and their families – and discover that, to be winners, the steps don’t need to be strictly ballroom.

Kevin Clifton, who has appeared in several series of Strictly Come Dancing, plays the lead character Scott Hastings. Kevin reveals he can sing, as well as dance. When he is performing, he commands the stage, no matter what else is going on, your eyes are continually drawn to him, as he dances with passion, strength and fluidity. You can certainly see why he has had a very successful competitive dancing career as well as being on TV and stage.

The female lead was played by Poppy Blackledge, who stepped in as understudy to play the character of Fran. She looked like she performed in that role every night, hitting all the notes and dance moves with ease, Poppy truly was a joy to watch.

The slightly risqué humour is often cleverly portrayed in ways other than the obvious spoken word, using mime and inference to keep the viewers’ attention. The soundtrack is played live by the off-stage band, with mostly original songs and a few well-known tracks thrown in.  

Strictly Ballroom: The Musical is a riot of colour and sequins, with some clever costume changes and many different dance styles performed. The final song, Love is in the Air, is rousingly sung by all the cast, and had the audience clapping along, with some even up dancing. A very well-deserved standing ovation for a thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting show.


  • Strictly Ballroom: The Musical is at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre until February 25. For tickets and more information, click here.
  • Photo: Ellie Kurttz.


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