Thursday, 8 December 2016

There are no new steps

"Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias"

I have been to see 'Strictly Ballroom', the stage adaptation of Baz Luhrmann's charming 1992 film of the same name, and very entertaining it was too. It is camper than a row of tents, but then I think we'd all be disappointed if it wasn't. Luhrmann (1) participated in the development of the musical and much of the dialogue is repeated word for word. It's about half an hour longer than the film; the difference being made up of more dancing and, it seemed to me, a greater prominence given to Fran's Spanish background. The show is stolen by Fernando Mira as Fran's father demonstrating how to dance the Paso Doble; now that is dancing.

Reviews in the media have been somewhat lukewarm, but the audience - including me - lapped it up and, given that this is self-evidently an out-of-town trial, I would expect this to be in the West End in due course. The new songs are never going to become classics, but those from the soundtrack to the film are sensibly retained. It's hokum, but it's great fun.

(1) Luhrmann is credited by the West Yorkshire Playhouse as the creator (sic) of this and Moulin Rouge, which seems fair enough, and also of Romeo and Juliet and The Great Gatsby, which doesn't.

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