Taking new steps

By Narelle Wood

There was love in the air for the launch of the Melbourne season of Strictly Ballroom: The Musical. While the Lonsdale Ballroom of the Sofitel seemed a little too classy and a little low on glitz for the garish and over-the-top ballroom dancing world created by the film, the night provided an exciting glimpse of all that this stage show promises to deliver.

Strictly Ballroom

The relatively new and Australian production company Global Creatures is responsible for the collaborative effort with Baz Luhrmann in moving this iconic Australian film to the stage. Directed by Luhrmann, and with costumes by Catherine Martin, the show promises to deliver on the visual extravaganza the duo have become famous for; approximately one million Swarovski diamantes were hand-sewn onto the costumes to provide just a touch of the dance world glamour.

Throughout the night, hosted by Barry Fife himself (Robert Grubb), we were treated to a preview of the talents of some of the cast including the vocal stylings of Thomas Lacey and Phoebe Panaretos (Scott and Fran), the incredible Flamenco dancing of Fernando Miro (Rico) and the dancing talents of Rohan Browne and Nadia Coote (Ken Railings and Tina Sparkle). While the Flamenco dancing (Paso Doble and Flamenco infusion) and the performance by Ken and Tina are clearly recognizable moments from the film, the song “Beautiful Surprise”, performed by the characters Scott and Fran, pointed to some of the new musical numbers that have been especially written for the show.

With any re-creation of an icon there is a risk that some of the fans (the diehard Strictly Ballroom fans who know ‘where the man goes, the lady must follow’ and that ‘there are no new steps’) may find the new aspects to the musical difficult to deal with, and early reviews were mixed. However, if the quality of performance, music and lyrics of “Beautiful Surprise” are any indication, the new elements of the script will only embellish the stage adaptation.

I personally cannot wait to see what the combination of Luhrmann, Martin and Global Creatures have produced and I look forward to Strictly Ballroom; The Musical fulfilling the promise that the audience will walk in and dance out come its season premier in January 2015.

Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre
Season: Begins January 2015
Bookings: https://premier.ticketek.com.au to register for the Strictly Ballroom: The Musical ticket waitlist