Having been a part of the seventies ballroom dancing world, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) production of Strictly Ballroom is sheer entertainment delight that had me grinning from ear to ear.
Written by Baz Luhrmann the production is based on his experiences as a competitor and some of the characters from that era are reflected in his production. Based on the nineties hit movie of the same name all the elements of the movie are there with a few of the minor characters fleshed out for the theatrical performance.
Harrison Targett in the lead role of Scott Hastings is certainly the triple threat. He can act, sing and his dancing skills were technically brilliant. While this production does not include the iconic knee slide seen in the movie, Targett’s one-legged forward flip stole the finale dance sequence and had the audience cheering for more.
Rose Shannon-Duhigg gives a delightful and heartfelt performance as Fran as she blooms from a shy single girl into an independent woman prepared to stand up for what she believes in – her voice is a powerhouse that achieved the perfect performance.
Ethan Jones as Barry Fife, chief judge and rule maker, along with compere, JJ Silvers played by Alexander Landsberry, steal the laughs throughout the production and perform in some of the show-stopping numbers of the evening.
Choreographer Jayne Smeulders manages to blend theatrical and ballroom into images of vibrant colour and movement. The dance sequence performed by Targett and the male ensemble during On the Edge is performed with power and passion, while Dance to Win, performed by Jones, Landsberry and Jed McKinney steals the comedic moment of the evening while paying homage to all the great musical theatre numbers through the seventies. It even manages to include a line of three males performing high kicks!
The set designed by James Browne seamlessly transforms through the various scenes while at times becoming part of the dance sequences.
Strictly Ballroom is a fun evening that manages to transport the audience back to the seventies when it was every young ballroom dancers’ dream to be crowned the Pan Pacific Six Dance Latin American Dance Champion. With just over two hundred tickets remaining, grab your tickets now!
Regal Theatre, 474 Hay Street, Subiaco (Perth)
Performance: Saturday 15 June 2019 – 7:30pm
Season continues to 22 June 2019
For more information, visit: www.waapa.ecu.edu.au for details.
Image: Strictly Ballroom – photo by Jon Green
Review: Craig Dalglish