This brash and tacky adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s comedy mockumentary is somewhere between a panto and an episode of Strictly Come Dancing, and is less fun than either of them.
Scott Hastings (Jonny Labey) doesn’t fit into the uptight, competitive world of ballroom dancing, because he makes up his own moves. This point is repeated a million times including a nightmare sequence. When he meets dowdy Fran (Zizi Strallen), has he found his dream partnership? Yes, obviously, but unlike the original 90-minute film, the full-length musical becomes a torturously long and repetitive journey with no stakes.
Baz Luhrmann’s aesthetic worked 25 years ago because it revelled in the shoddiness of the dance halls and the seediness lurking underneath the sequins and hairspray. But here, everything is squeaky clean, bright lights, and everybody looks the same. Multi award-winning Drew McOnie’s choreography is as tame and unimaginative as the ballroom world it’s parodying.
Throw in some crude Spanish steretoypes (Spanish people are so stupid and poor, but so wise!) and pussy-grabbing misogyny, and you have a really poor-taste show. The cast do their best, including Pop Idol’s Will Young, and the live band on stage whack out some great pop tunes, but overall this is one to avoid.