Piccadilly Theatre – Strictly Ballroom The Musical

Is it unethical to switch to a better vacant seat at the theatre?

I am among those people, who switch to better seats, but I only do that if my seat is really bad and the better seat is vacant. Sometimes I do it at the start of the show, sometimes I wait until the interval. I see other people doing the same, but there are still some people who remain in their seats in the last row until the end of the show. So I have my conscious torturing me whether I am doing something wrong. Some theatres do not allow switching under the pretext that you have not paid for that seat, whereas, others don’t mind.



Piccadilly Theatre is in the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) covered in my Lyceum Theatre post.

Piccadilly Theatre opened in 1928 and ran musicals. It was shortly taken over by Warner Brothers and operated as a cinema. It went back to showing musicals in 1929. Piccadilly was converted into a cabaret restaurant and later a casino before sustaining a serious damage after being hit by a German bomb during World War II. The theatre was renovated and opened in 1950 to run plays, revues, musicals and ballet performances. Piccadilly was also used for recording number of The Beatles’ songs in 1964 and in 1986, to host ITV’s Sunday evening variety show, Live From the Piccadilly. ATG bought Piccadilly Theatre from Associated Capital Theatres in 2000.



The musical starts at the ballroom dance competition, where Scott Hastings, a professional dancer, experiments with his new steps. Scott’s Partner, Liz is not happy with his decision, especially after the trophy goes to another couple. Scott comes from a family of dancers and next day, in their dance studio everyone tries to convince him to give up his own steps and follow the steps established by Australian Federation, and strictly followed by its president, Barry Fife. Scott wants to have freedom in his dancing and chooses to dance with Fran, ballroom dance beginner, who liked Scott’s steps and understands how he feels. Fran and Scott start rigorous preparation for the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship, which is only in 3 weeks’ time. It was Scott’s mother’s dream to win Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship, but as she did not fulfil her dream now she wants Scott to win this competition. Scott dreams of showing his steps to the world and not necessarily winning the competition. Barry Fife is concerned with Scott’s decision and has nightmares about new steps invading the dance floor. Fran and Scott are working on their dance, a mixture of paso doble and contemporary, getting help and guidance from Fran’s Spanish family. Night before the competition Barry Fife arranges a meeting with Scott and tells him that many years ago Scott’s father, Doug, showed his own steps at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship, but the steps were not taken well by the jury and the public; Scott’s parents lost the competition and that jeopardised Doug’s mental health. Scott is confused by this story; he had never seen his father dance, because  Doug gave it all up before Scott was born. Barry tells Scott that if he experiments with his own steps, he will repeat the same story and Doug may not be able to sustain another blow. On the day of the competition Scott is getting ready to dance with Liz and Fran is competing in the beginners category. Doug manages to get a moment with Scott telling him that he never got a chance to present his steps at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship, because just before the competition Barry Fife convinced Scott’s mother not to dance “stupid” steps with Doug and instead, she coupled up with her brother. Scott realises that Barry Fife has been lying, moreover he bribed the jury to make his favourite couple win. Scott goes to the dance floor with Fran and they dance their routine, despite Barry’s attempts to stop the show. The public love Scott and Fran’s performance and Barry Fife is resigned from his post.



Strictly Ballroom is yet another movie to stage musical adaptation based on the 1994 film of the same name. The musical premiered at the Sydney Lyric in 2014. West End production premiered in April, 2018 at Piccadilly.

Director:         Drew McOnie

Producer:        Global Creatures, Carmen Pavlovic, Gerry Ryan, Patrick Murphy



Bought my ticket from LOVEtheatre, which is owned by ATG. £17.4 for the back row seat in the grand circle. From this seat one can see the whole stage, but it seems so far away. It feels like you are missing out.


Running time is 2 hours 30 minutes.


The Theatre Rat

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