Director and Choreographer: Nikki Woollaston
Conductor: Richard Balcombe
Reviewer: Clare White
Billed as the nation’s favourite ballroom couple, Strictly Come Dancing stars Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag take to the stage at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall for an evening of song, dance, glitz and glamour.
Just Gotta Dance is the duo’s 7th national tour. Professional partners since 1997, the pair worked the competition circuit, winning international dance championships and accolades, before signing up for the first series of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2004. Boag left the show in 2012 to start a family, while Du Beke is one of the longest serving and most popular professional dancers, having just completed his 13th and most successful series to date with BBC newsreader Katie Derham.
“So Anton, what was it like reaching the Strictly final after 13 years?” Boag asks.
“Exhausting,” he quips.
The show combines the sophisticated glamour of ballroom with songs from a golden era of stage and screen. The superb London Concert Orchestra, led by Richard Balcombe, provide the big band tunes, as our stars of the show, joined by six talented ensemble dancers, quick step, foxtrot and waltz around the stage to classics including Let’s Go Fly A Kite, Too Darn Hot and a fantastic Cabaret/Chicago medley.
Strictly alumnus, singer Lance Ellington, does an excellent job providing the vocals, and, somewhat surprisingly, is joined for several numbers by Du Beke and Boag. The pair can hold a tune rather well, and this, combined with their faultless footwork and light-hearted audience interaction, results in a well-rounded entertainment show. However, it’s a shame that for some of the big show tunes, like Let’s Face The Music And Dance and Fever, songs we would have loved to see the duo dance to, they are absent from the stage. An audience of eager Strictly fans wants the song AND the dance.
The show looks and feels slick and stylish. The choreography is marvellous mix of razzle dazzle, grace and panachewhile stunning costumes for the whole cast are selected and styled by Boag herself, who wears no less than 10 sparkling gowns throughout the night
They make a fabulous double act. Du Beke is charismatic, quick-witted and a great raconteur – like a cross between Fred Astaire and Bruce Forsyth, he delights the audience with his twinkle toes and cheeky banter, while Boag is his elegant and charming sidekick.
There is a humorous audience question and answer session in the second half, where we get to find out a bit more about the Strictly stars, such as ‘Has Anton ever dropped Erin?’ (No, but he will occasionally twirl and fling her to the floor if their music is running out) and what does Erin find his most irritating habit (talking a lot and a subconscious twitch).
Masters of their craft, Du Beke and Boag are a delight to watchand deliver an entertaining and enjoyable live show. Fab-u-lous!
Reviewed on 30 January 2016 and on tour | Image: Contributed