Bazz Luhrmann’s 1992 film Strictly Ballroom holds a special place in the hearts of Australians so when the audience gathered at QPAC last night for the tale’s much loved Queensland stage debut, it was fair to say that expectations were high. Nobody, however, left disappointed.
While some of the magic is so often lost when transporting a popular story from one medium to another, Strictly Ballroom has lost none of the charm, excitement, and raw passion that made it so popular in the first place. This can largely be attributed to the continuity of having Bazz Luhrmann directing both the film and now the stage musical.
Luhrmann’s unique, and vision is evident right from the get go when the audience stepped into the Lyric Theatre to find it appearing as a sea of coloured sparkles with every seat adorned with glittery nylon fabric. It was a fine line between daggy and fun, but the that is the whole point of the show – to stop being so stuffy and just enjoy life.
The set and costumes perfectly display all of the superficial excess of competitive dancing, and the choreography is astounding but this show is far more than just colour and movement. The 45 member cast wonderfully tell the tale of Scott Hastings, a brilliant young dancer who is expected to win the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship but when he insists on showing off his flashy new moves, his family and the ballroom dancing community are torn apart.
Perhaps the best thing about Strictly Ballroom the Musical is that it is a quintessentially Australian story that combines self-deprecating humour while at the same time showcasing just how brilliant we really can be.
Strictly Ballroom is now playing at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC until 17 October. Tickets are available via qpac.com.au or call 136246.