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Strictly Ballroom: The Musical - Review

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by Tayla Giles (subscribe)
Tayla Giles
Event: -
Overall rating: ★★★★★
Date Attended: 04/07/2019

Love is in the air as an Aussie cult classic is revived in Strictly Ballroom: The Musical[/B]

Photo provided by Matt Byrne Media


"A life lived in fear is a life half lived." Baz Luhrmann's famous life motto and the core message tying together his Red Curtain Trilogy rings true in the outwardly outrageous production of Strictly Ballroom: The Musical.

Relive Luhrmann's 1990s Aussie cult classic on the big stage with even more glitz, glamour and ballroom dancing than ever, and you'll see how the loveably tacky tale truly stands the test of time.

Director and Founder of his self-titled media company Matt Byrne seamlessly transitions the story from the silver screen to the red curtain, paying homage to Terry Johnson's stage adaptation whilst also staying true to Baz Luhrmann's original cinematic creation.

Photo provided by Matt Byrne Media


For those who somehow missed growing up watching the Australian archetypal film, Strictly Ballroom: The Musical follows the story of champion ballroom dancer Scott Hastings and "ugly duckling" ballroom beginner Fran, who form an unlikely dancing duo and try to take out the trophy of the Australian Pan Pacific Grand Prix Championships. Will Scott ruin everything by dancing his own steps? Will Fran ever learn how to dance in time for the championships? And when will people realise that Barry Fife really is a gutless wonder!

Young up-and-comer Kurt Benton charms audiences with his warm charisma as Scott Hastings, taking the lead with a subtle confidence yet conveying the character's inner conflict with emotional intensity. The humble beauty Kate Harrison is a blossoming wallflower as Fran, transforming from a shy ugly duckling to a radiant dancing queen right before audience's very own eyes.

Photo provided by Matt Byrne Media


The pair are joined by a vast ensemble cast that fills the stage to the brim with costumes, colour and sheer talent. Carolyn Adams brings a feisty competitive flair to the stage as the original "Dance Mom" Shirley Hastings, whilst Angus Smith says very little yet elicits much laughter as poor Doug Hastings. Max Rayner charms audiences as Kendall's Dance Studio owner Les Kendall, whilst the delightful Jessica Wolfendale dazzles audiences with eye-catching costumes and self-assured sass as Tina Sparkle. However, it is director and co-star Matt Byrne that steals the show with his vehemently villainous performance as Australian Dancing Federation President Barry Fife.

Costume designer, creator and co-cordinator Anne Williams has worked in conjunction with wardrobe supervisor Sue Winston to craft an entire closet filled with ballroom-themed costumes, donning both male and female cast members head-to-toe with sequins, frills, flares and vibrant colour.

Musical Directors Jesse Budel and Jennifer Trijo have carefully curated a setlist of ballroom-themed musical numbers that are sure to get you up off your feet, combining beloved chart-topping 90s movie hits such as John Paul Young's 'Love Is In The Air' with catchy musical exclusive numbers!

Tying the entire performance together are the energetic, vivacious and passionate dance numbers ranging from ballroom to samba, each of which have been choreographed down to every last detail by Tara Johnston and Thomas Coghlan.

Photo provided by Matt Byrne Media


A spectacular spectacle that delights and dazzles all of the senses, Strictly Ballroom: The Musical lives on to this day as a modern-day Australian fairy tale beloved by all. Matt Byrne Media are currently presenting Strictly Ballroom: The Musical at the Arts Theatre from July 4 13, followed by the Shedley Theatre form July 18 27, so be sure to snap up these tickets before they sell out here.
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When: Matinee: 2pm | Evening: 8pm
Phone: 8262 4906
Where: The Arts Theatre | Shedley Theatre
Cost: Adults: $45 | Concession: $38 | Cheap Nights (July 9 & 18): $30 | Group Discount (10 ): $42/$35
Your Comment
Excellent review, Tayla 😁😁
by Thomas Day (score: 0|4) 10 days ago
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