Choreographer: Brendan Cole
Reviewer: Naomi Stevens
Among the favourites on Strictly Come Dancing, Brendan Cole ensures that the heat is on when he brings his Licence to Thrill tour to town. From the dramatic opening beats of ‘Cry Me a River’ and beyond, right the way through the show, there is barely a pause for breath. Cole uses his dancing experience and expertise to showcase an array of dances, moving fluidly between Ballroom and Latin American to do just as the title suggests – thrill.
Kicking off proceedings with a lively Cha Cha Cha, Cole continues by introducing the other perhaps not so well known but every bit as talented dancers. These all get their chance to shine and despite Cole being the man behind the production, the performance is very much about everyone involved. The other dancers include fellow Strictly star Aliona Vilani, Cole’s brother Scott who partners Crystal Main and Patrick Helm with partner Melanie Hooper.
There is a sultry Tango, an energetic Quickstep and a raunchy little boys versus girls dance off. The Latin is fast and furious and there is a re-enacted scene from a very famous movie which is a real highlight. Musical Director Barry Robinson’s orchestra plus singers Iain Mackenzie and Julie Maguire, at all times present onstage, work beautifully with the dancers to bring the choreography – all Cole’s own – to life in a stunning fashion.
Cole’s personality shines through, it is clear he has an excellent rapport with his tour crew and this adds to his audience’s engagement. Robinson not only ensures that the music is top notch but there is some jovial and amusing banter between himself and Cole, which although initially seems slightly awkward, eventually becomes very natural as they relax and go with the flow. The costumes are beautiful and the lighting used in a manner to enhance and tell the story of each routine.
Aside from one or two minor glitches – the lights randomly flicking on during a speech being one example – this production combines all of the glitz and glamour you could want, beautiful girls and gorgeous guys with slick movements and classic dances. From Bond to Blackpool and beyond, Brendan Cole has definitely been granted his Licence to Thrill.
On tour until 17th March 2014.