Julia Pattison, Theatre Correspondent

Strictly Ballroom On Tour

Kevin Clifton & Faye Brookes. 
Photo Credit Ellie Kurttz.
Kevin Clifton & Faye Brookes. Photo Credit Ellie Kurttz.
The last time I saw Kevin Clifton, of Strictly Come Dancing fame was when he starred in his spectacular show, Burn The Floor back in 2019 at Grand Opera House, York; the place was smoking after Burn The Floor Company’s exhilarating, energetic extravaganza. Kevin stunned us all at the time, when he clearly demonstrated that he could sing as well as dance.

You can catch Strictly Ballroom at York Grand Opera House until Saturday 29th April. Further tour dates below
I have it on good authority that Kevin from Grimsby had always wanted to star in Strictly Ballroom The Musical (book by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce), as he is very familiar with the competitive ballroom dancing world; in a successful competitive dancing career Kevin won numerous titles across the world including becoming a four time British Latin American Champion and Youth World number one.

Strictly Ballroom Tour
Photo Credit Ellie Kurttz.
Strictly Ballroom Tour Photo Credit Ellie Kurttz.
His dream has come true; he was destined for this role, a perfect showcase for his comedy skills, as well as his superb dancing and strong vocals.

With the show being directed by flamboyant Strictly Judge Craig Revel Horwood, who also co- choreographed, along with creative director on Strictly Come Dancing, Jason Gilkison, you knew we were going to have a ball watching this sparkling, sizzling show, featuring a cast of more than 20 world-class performers. The live music, directed by Catherine Benson on press night was an absolute joy to experience. All the stops had been pulled out too with the sparkling and stunning set and costumes (Mark Walters ).

From the opening Strictly Ballroom number, to the fabulous finale in Act 1, A Life Lived In Fear, this show had razzle dazzle in spades. The cast were superb, such team work, such energy; Kevin was very much part of that team, no the big “ I am" about this grounded northern lad, which made him even more endearing to watch in his role of rebellious Australian dancer Scott Hastings, who caused a commotion with his radical moves when he opted to dance with absolute beginner Fran.

Strictly Ballroom UK Tour - 
Kevin Clifton & Maisie Smith
Strictly Ballroom UK Tour - Kevin Clifton & Maisie Smith
There was great chemistry between Kevin and his co-star Faye Brookes (who was outstanding in her role ) and as Act 2 progressed at breakneck speed, The Pan Pacific Finals was a fairytale ending with Scot and Fran spectacularly breaking the rules of flamenco, and falling in love too, making it a wonderfully uplifting show – Love was definitely in the air!

I loved every minute of this awesome musical, but feel understudy Stylianos Thomadakis deserves credit for his compelling performance as Rico, Fran’s father, as he showed Scott how a ‘real' Paso looked, followed by stunning Spanish dancing from the ensemble – I could have watched that over and over again – astounding!

A fun, fab-u-lous show leaving you wanting more.

We received the news that day, that dear old Len Goodman, former Strictly Come Dancing head judge had died aged 78. No doubt the cast would drink a toast to him after this Strictly spectacular show, hearing his voice in their heads saying, “It’s a 10 from Len !”

w50[Tour Dates
1 - 6 May Newcastle Theatre Royal
26 June 1 July Salford The Lowry
3 - 8 July Leeds Grand Theatre]