Review: Do the Quickstep to Milton Keynes Theatre for Strictly Ballroom

If you’re a fan of ballroom dancing then I can thoroughly recommend that you do the Quickstep to Milton Keynes Theatre this week.
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Having said that, I’ve never watched a single episode of the Strictly Come Dancing (always being an X-Factor man when they went head-to-head on the TV schedule), so it was my teenage daughter who persuaded me we simply had to check out Strictly Ballroom The Musical, which inspired the smash-hit BBC series.

The show is directed by Craig Revel Horwood, who co-choreographs with Strictly’s creative director Jason Gilkison. A 10-month UK and Ireland tour kicked off in Portsmouth in September and culminates in Bristol in July.

Dancing on Ice finalist and Coronation Street star, Faye Brookes, recently joined the cast, starring in the lead female role of Fran. For Monday evening’s press night Scott Hastings was played by Edwin Ray (instead of Strictly Come Dancing pro dancer Kevin Clifton).

Scott is a talented, arrogant and rebellious young ballroom dancer. When his radical dance moves see him fall out of favour with the Australian Federation and his dancing partner, he has just three weeks to find himself a replacement who can compete alongside him in the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship.

The outcast finds himself dancing with Fran, a beginner from his mum’s dance class who has enthusiasm, but no moves at all.

But inspired by one another, the pair gather the courage to work on their routine with the help of Fran’s family. They discover that to win the steps don’t need to be strictly ballroom – despite the protestations of Federation head Barry Fife (the excellent Gary Davis).

Barry has lined up Tina Sparkles as Scott’s new partner, so isn’t happy when he sees Scott and Fran’s relationship build and he keeps reminding us that freestyle dance moves are a step towards anarchy!

Strictly Ballroom... Photo©EllieKurttzStrictly Ballroom... Photo©EllieKurttz
Strictly Ballroom... Photo©EllieKurttz

The lead couple worked very well together, their dancing and singing was superb throughout – the well-known Time After Time, and Love Is In The Air, being two highlights.

The audience also made a song and dance at the final curtail about the contributions of Karen Mann and Jose Agudo as Fran’s grandma Abuela and father Rico who offered the Scott and Fran some vital advice – “listen to the rhythm and don’t be scared”.

This production was full of glitterball glamour that dazzled the audience. It was energetic from start to finish as the cast really worked up a sweat in what was breathless entertainment at times.

My daughter declared it one of her favourite productions she’d seen at MK Theatre – on the way home even asking me if it would be possible to have some dance lessons!

Strictly Ballroom runs at MK Theatre until April 8. See https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/strictly-ballroom/milton-keynes-theatre