Music: Manchester Concert Orchestra
Composers: Cole Porter, Irvin Berlin, Harry Warren, Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein ll, Jerry Leiber, Lionel Bart, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Rogers, Lorenz Hart
Director: Nikki Woollaston
Choreographer: Nikki Woollaston
Reviewer: Sue Collier
Anton and Erin is a musical extravaganza featuring the delightful dance partnership of Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag. The two dancers first came to greater public attention for their contributions to the widely acclaimed BBC1 production of Strictly Come Dancing. Anton has appeared in every season of ‘Strictly’ and Erin, the first ten seasons, before leaving to start her family. 2019 sees the tenth anniversary of their touring dance show.
The show comprises of Anton and Erin dancing to a number of popular West End Musicals, whilst showcasing a range of dance styles. They are accompanied by a small team of six guest dancers. Music is provided by a live big band, the Manchester Concert Orchestra and two guest singers, Lance Ellington (also of ‘Strictly’ fame) and Laura Emmitt.
With the Overture immediately providing a sense of excitement and anticipation, quality music was continued throughout.
The six guest dancers are strong representatives of their art. As in all such shows, there is a need for supporting performers to fill in sections of the show, allowing the stars of the show to have costume changes and rest. These dancers provide a high standard of captivating entertainment and are well deserving of the audience’s approval.
Lance Ellington and Laura Emmitt sing throughout the show, as solo performers, duetting together and also with Du Beke. Pleasingly, they also dance throughout the show which was a surprise as in ‘Strictly’ Ellington’s’ role is singing only. The quality of singing is good, though sometimes the force of Emmitt’s voice seems too strong for the lyrics she is singing and could be gentler and more emotionally expressive.
The quality of the costumes used in this show is outstandingly good and are made by the same team who provide the costumes for ‘Strictly’. The range of costumes is incredibly varied in accordance with the requirements of individual songs with none being used twice.
Du Beke and Boag ’s stage partnership, dance quality and presence are very strong. They are relaxed and easy together which is always a plus. Du Beke is a strong all-round performer with a cheeky character and great audience rapport to compliment his excellent dancing skills. The width of the stage at this venue does seem to limit the quality of dance steps and at times this particularly seemed to affect Du Beke’s timing when dancing with the other guest dancers. Boag is elegance personified. Her dancing appears effortless.
There is a Question and Answer session at the beginning of the Second Act and audience members are offered cards on which to write their questions. This is great fun. However, one returning audience member asks why this section of the show needs to be so long because it limits the range of dancing. They are quite right. Compared to Act One, Act Two offers a much-reduced selection of dancing and dance is what this particular audience is paying to see.
The show delights. Many of its audience are ‘Strictly’ fans who return to see the show year after year. Though other dance shows starring big names from Strictly Come Dancing may not always please, this one certainly does. The reason for this is quality and this show is highly recommended.
Reviewed on: 13 March 2019. Touring Nationwide until 24 March 2019 | Image: Contributed