Essays On Strictly Ballroom

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There’s ‘ballroom’ in the title, so dance is a primary element of this piece.

The popularity of the film means that audience members have high expectations.

The story is essentially about questioning the need for rigid rules which seem irrelevant, and also about unassuming people being unexpectedly successful by being true to themselves.

The two lead roles need both skill and stamina to make this show work.

Shirley Hastings, golden-boy Scott’s adoring mother, and Ballroom Association President Barry Fife, are both larger than any known life-form.

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As Shirley, Carolyn Adams’ performance energy is prodigious, and her dance-mum-from-hell looks wonderful.Group ballroom numbers are well-staged and have a tidy finish.Costumes are, of course, a huge part of ballroom dancing, and the after-five section of Spotlight seems to have been appropriated in order to clothe the cast.Its transformation into a successful music theatre piece was aided by a patchwork of music, augmented and stitched together by Eddie Perfect. We see Australians, using our language, speaking in our accents, and behaving within our cultural values. Not all music theatre is performed with an American accent.It’s good to see Strictly Ballroom being done for all these reasons.There’s no doubting his character’s officiousness, bluster and connivance; Baz Luhrmann’s and Craig Pearce’s book offers Fife a glorious smorgasbord of acting choices.This version of the character has more in common with a pantomime dame than a petty-minded official intent on retaining control.Neither did it look as if the singing and dancing had been worked together into a theatrical whole.I would be slow to blame excellent Musical Director Jesse Budel for this.Amassing a cast of 26, including himself, Matt Byrne has produced, directed and designed this show. His design is multi-purpose and economic, considering the limited space of the Arts Theatre.However, if his design had been a little less literal and more referential, scene changes could have been less sluggish.


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