Presented by Hit Productions and Liz Beamish
Q Theatre, Queanbeyan 26th – 28th October, 2017.
Reviewed by Bill Stephens
If ever there was a show in serious need of a script and a good director, then this is it. Despite some promising components including Liz Beamish, who’s also one of the producers, and who’s appeared professionally in the original Australian production of “Phantom of the Opera”, and in productions for Opera Australia and Opera Queensland. Her co-star, Lachlan Baker’s professional credits include such productions as “Les Miserables”, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Evita”.
There are also two teams of championship ballroom dancers. Rhett and Emma Salmon, who are the current professional championship holders of the World Dance Council Championship, and Jeremy Schneider and Jayne Di Bella who have also won ballroom dancing awards.
Despite there being an endless repertoire of Broadway songs celebrating dance in all its various forms, this show has little interest in them. Instead it consists of a mishmash of songs, some from musical theatre, some from opera, others from the popular song repertoire, not all wisely chosen, sung to karaoke backings, with no perceivable connection to the title or ballroom dancing. The songs are connected by fatuous prattle from the two singers and interrupted by the dancers who perform their routines, sometimes in the middle of a song, then disappear to change costumes.
There are lots of costumes, many quite lovely. Indeed, Beamish seemed more interested in her frocks than her songs. She confided that she makes them herself and encouraged applause for them on each entrance. But as admirable as they were, including the one splendid dress with 24 panels, they did not make up for the generally desultory treatment of the songs, or the slipshod presentation.
A couple of inept attempts at production numbers, notably for the poorly executed Habanera from “Carmen” and “Love is in the Air”, and Lachlan Baker’s off-the-cuff efforts to inject some comedy into the proceedings only served to highlight the lack of rehearsal, and paucity of professional expertise.
While there were some in the audience who appeared to enjoy “From Broadway to Ballroom”, one can only contemplate how much more their enjoyment could have been enhanced had the producers invested in a script and a competent director to focus and stage the show.