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Strictly Ballroom The Musical - Nottingham Review

Written by Elle Milford

A pop culture classic directed by Craig Revel Horwood starring Kevin Clifton and Faye Brooks Strictly Ballroom, a tribute to the Australian ballroom scene in the early 1980s. 

Kevin Clifton and Faye Brooks. Photo by Ellie Kurttz

The original story written by director Baz Luhrmann is brought to life and transformed by director Craig Revel Horwood. Revel Horwood uses colour and choreography to capture the essence of this romantic story.

The story follows dancer Scott Hastings, who falls out of favour with the federation after dancing his own steps during a competition, something that is frowned upon, who strikes up an unlikely partnership with Fran, a beginner to the ballroom dancing world. Scott is at first sceptical of working with a beginner however Fran is extremely dedicated and is also happy for Scott to dance his own steps. With multiple hurdles to cross such as Barry Fife, Scotts mother Shirley and her dance partner Les, Scott must decide whether to dance as expected or to dance from the heart. With songs such as ‘Love is in the Air’, ‘Tequila’ and ‘Time After Time’ audiences are sure to recognise and want to get out of their seats to dance along themselves.

Kevin Clifton stars as the arrogant dancer, Scott Hastings, wows audiences with his terrific dancing as only he could! Not only that but also gives off some beautiful vocal moments such as during the song ‘Shooting Star’ where he also has a dance break that represents Scotts artistic passion to rebel against the set rules of dance. Kevin Clifton truly shines in this role and gives a very honest performance of a character he can relate to.

Faye Brooks stars as Fran, a beginner to dance but who yearns to be given the opportunity to do more with her life. Faye Brooks gives a very beautifully vulnerable performance with comedic elements to combat against Scotts put downs and pretentiousness. Faye Brooks' voice stuns as she retains the timid side of Fran but also the energy for ambition to succeed during the number ‘Beautiful Surprise’.

The cast of Strictly Ballroom. Photo by Ellie Kurttz
Barry Fife, played at this performance by Kieran Cooper, kept the audience laughing with his character's shenanigans. Oozing a sly kind of charm Kieran Cooper was able to convey all the jokes whilst also being the villain of the story. 

The ensemble were able to dazzle with not only dancing the amazing choreography, by Craig Revel Horwood and Jason Gilkinson, but also the fabulous harmonies throughout the ensemble numbers. With a stand out of supporting roles played by some amazing actors giving the positive energy and comedic elements that make this production a fun, vibrant, feel good piece of theatre!

A stand out moment for me would have to be seeing Karen Mann as Abuela singing ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’ in Spanish as this really sets the tone for Frans background within the story but also sets up the idea that perhaps Fran is the key to Scotts success. Karen Mann is a stunning actor who gives off a very heartwarming tone when helping Fran find her confidence.

Strictly Ballroom is a bright, funny musical with themes of artistic repression and over coming the odds for something you are passionate about. With recognizable music and choreography that will make you feel like you're watching the dancing at Blackpool Tower, you are bound to come out of it feeling the positive energy.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Strictly Ballroom plays at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal until Saturday 24th June. Tickets are available from The show touring with dates booking until 15th July 2023, please find dates and ticket information at

The cast of Strictly Ballroom. Photo by Ellie Kurttz

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