Conductor: Richard Balcombe
With 100 costumes and 100,000 Swarowski stones, Strictly Come Dancing favourites Anton du Beke and Erin Boag have hit the road on their latest tour, Dance those Magical Movies – and it’s as spectacular as ever. The latest series of Strictly pulled in some 8 million viewers so it’s little surprise that Birmingham’s Symphony Hall is packed out for the performance. After 17 years, the TV series has firmly established a place in the hearts of the nation and made household names of the regular professional dancers – as well as revitalising an interest in ballroom dancing.
Dance those Magical Movies provides exactly what it says in the title – this is a music and dance show, not a ballroom show. It starts from the earliest movies, presented via music from Mack and Mabel, and works its way almost up to date with The Greatest Showman. So, of course, there’s the traditional ballroom dancing from the golden age of classics, but there’s also a lot of focus on show-style choreography too.
It almost goes without saying that the pair can dance, and dance extremely well. It’s also no secret that they love doing the traditional Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers routines more than anything – and this is clearly their forte, the place they feel most at home. When the show moves into the more modern dancing, du Beke in particular sometimes seems a little out of his comfort zone against the dance ensemble that shares the stage with them – six well-drilled and talented dancers who between them help to carry the show through from start to finish. The costumes are as varied as the movies, and they are colourful, glamorous and spectacular – involving some very quick changes for the ensemble in particular, and 11 or so for Boag alone, ranging from floaty frocks to slinky catsuits.
A dance show couldn’t take place without music, and here we have the excellent 23-piece London Concert Orchestra led by regular conductor Richard Balcombe with vocalists, Strictly Come Dancing regular Lance Ellington and Laura Emmitt. Despite an impressive CV, Emmitt is not as well-known as Ellington but her vocals are superb and she dances extremely well too – a name to look out for in future. It’s common knowledge that du Beke can sing as well, and he shares his voice with us on a couple of occasions with an enjoyable Good Morning with Ellington and Emmitt and Razzle Dazzle as a duet with Ellington.
Alongside the dancing, du Beke and Boag love to chat, and they’re both extremely personable and at ease with the microphone. Anton du Beke has often shown his skills as a comedian and TV host, and Boag refuses to be outdone by him and holds her own nicely.
Tickets are not cheap, but it’s a show with many highlights and judging from the way the tour seems to have sold so far, one that remains popular with audiences around the country. Fans of Strictly and fans of dancing will love it.
Reviewed on 25 January 2020