Baz Luhrmann’s 1992 film Strictly Ballroom won three BAFTA Film Awards, including Best Costume Design, Best Original Film Score and Best Production Design. Originally based on a stage production that Luhrmann put on as a student in 1984, it fast garnered a cult following and is a symbol of Luhrmann’s unique stereotypical directing style. It was only a matter of time before this glittery, sequinned marvel returned to the stage. Now it comes to London’s West End, premiering at the Piccadilly Theatre from March 2018.
With music and lyrics from Luhrmann & Catherine Martin and a book from Luhrmann & Craig Pearce, Strictly Ballroom dances into London after the closing of the Piccadilly Theatre’s current production of Annie. It originally played in Luhrmann’s home town of Sydney in 2014 and has since toured Australia, before receiving its British premiere at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in November 2016, starring Gemma Sutton and Sam Lips. Acclaimed director and choreographer Drew McOnie now takes the helm, after his Olivier Award-winning contribution to In The Heights in 2016 and his nominated choreography of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2017.
Strictly Ballroom is the story of Australian ballroom dancer Scott Hastings, as he struggles to integrate his own style of dance into the strict ballroom repertoire. Losing out on the coveted Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championships title for creating his own footwork, Scott is forced to find a new dance partner and ends up rehearsing in secret with frumpy novice Fran. They fall in love, form a brand-new style of dance and go on to revolutionise the ballroom dancing form on their return to the championships. The film kicks off Luhrmann’s Red Curtain Trilogy of similarly styled productions, which includes Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge.
A kaleidoscope of colour and fun, Strictly Ballroom follows a well-established tradition and rich history of dance productions in the West End over the last few years. From classics like Dirty Dancing and Flashdance at the Phoenix Theatre and the Shaftesbury Theatre respectively, to modern ballroom equivalents like Burn The Floor and The Last Tango, Strictly Ballroom is in great company. The show comes from a North American run at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre.
With music from the original film and classics such as “Love Is In The Air”, “Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps” and “Time After Time”, Luhrmann and Martin incorporate modern, electrifying new songs to add extra sparkle and dazzle to this already glittering story of overcoming obstacles and not being afraid to be different. Currently booking until 21 July 2018, make sure to grab your tickets and dance along to a story in true, toe-tapping Luhrmann style!