Director and co-choreographer Craig Revel Horwood
and co-choreographer Jason Gilkison are thrilled to be
bringing Strictly Ballroom back to the stage
As Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical steps out on its first-ever UK tour, the show’s director and co-choreographer Craig Revel Horwood promises: “Audiences are in for a night of laughter and comedy, with an insight into the ballroom world. It’s a glimpse backstage, which is very different to the smiles when dancers are performing. Most people see this happy, smiley world of people dancing together but when they come off stage they maybe have family issues to deal with or issues with each other. Strictly Ballroom lifts the curtain on all that whilst also being really funny and having such a strong central love story, plus there’s lots of glitz and glamour and beautiful costumes.”
Adapted for the stage from the 1992 film by creators Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, the musical revolves around rebellious Australian dancer Scott Hastings, who causes a commotion with his radical moves and raises eyebrows when he opts to dance with absolute beginner Fran.
Craig feels audiences are drawn to the story because of the insight it offers into the world of ballroom dancing and how passionate the dancers are. “You’ve got all this fantastic dancing and the characters are sometimes dark and twisted, which makes for good comedy. It’s about two people who are at the same point in their lives when they meet and it’s almost a Romeo and Juliet-style tale of two people from different gangs, without the tragic ending of course. Fran is from a very religious Spanish family whose dance tradition is flamenco and Scott is from the ballroom world. He’s trying to break out from the constrictions of that and Fran is trying to break out from her regime. They’re a young couple who want to do dance in their own way.”
Co-choreographer Jason Gilkison, who is creative director on Strictly Come Dancing, agrees. “It’s about two people coming together to achieve something incredible. They find a common denominator and a common ground, and eventually they fall in love. The world of competitive ballroom dancing can be quite vicious and cutthroat, which you also see in the show, but we see Scott and Fran rising above all that.”
Strictly Ballroom originated as a short stage play that Luhrmann devised with a group of classmates at Sydney’s National Institute of the Dramatic Arts in 1984. Eight years later he made his big-screen directorial debut with a feature-length version, which went on to become one of the most successful Australian films of all time. It earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture and bagged three BAFTA awards for its costumes, production design and music score. It also inspired the phenomenally successful Strictly Come Dancing TV show, which now goes out to more than 60 countries worldwide.
Strictly Ballroom is at The Bristol Hippodrome – Mon 10 Jul – Sat 15 Jul 2023. Tickets are available via – www.atgtickets.com/shows/strictly-ballroom/bristol-hippodrome/.