Choreography: Brendan Cole
Musical Director: Barry Robinson
Reviewer: Marina Spark
Brendan Cole, well known across the UK as one of the longest running professional dancers on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, is touring his 2013 show Licence to Thrill for a second year.
Cole is joined by five other professional dancers; Aliona Vilani, Patrick Helm, Melanie Hooper, Scott Cole and Crystal Main. Together they dance all of the classic ballroom and Latin numbers. Each dancer has their own distinct style and their personalities shine through their individual form. Cole’s dance partner, Vilani, is recognisable as a Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer and her ease and pinpoint accuracy with each dance is a joy to watch. The six dancers are on the whole involved in every dance, making Licence to Thrill a visual spectacle, however, it is a shame that there are not more dancers in the cast. A larger cast would give this show a big impact as occasionally it felt lacking in the wow factor. This is not to say that the dancers do not give their whole in terms of energy. Each dancer shows highly impressive levels of skill and fitness and each dance is danced as hard as the last. Highlights of the evening include the Dirty Dancing and Footloose numbers. They really are showstoppers.
The costumes are beautiful, displaying a plethora of sequins, satin, feathers and tassels. The costume changes are lightening quick and highly impressive.
The audience gets to know Cole throughout the evening as he comperes the proceedings. He comes across as personable, grounded and very funny; a natural compere. His repartee with musical director Barry Robinson goes down well with the audience. During the second half of the evening a question and answer session takes place. This is the audience’s chance to ask Cole anything at all and, of course, the success of this section of the evening will depend upon the quality of questions asked by the audience. On this occasion the section goes on a little long and the audience’s attentions wanes somewhat. This can be avoided by shaving off five minutes or so and adding in another dance.
The 14 piece Licence to Thrill band are excellent and the two singers are first class. Julie Maguire and Iain Mackenzie sing beautifully and are both clearly at the top of their game. Their voices suit the song choices perfectly and they are a joy to listen to.
If you are a fan of dance, this show is sure to please. If you weren’t a fan of Brendan Cole before seeing Licence to Thrill you are certain to be after the show. His cheeky, warm persona comes across exceptionally well and makes this evening one that can be enjoyed by all ages. Licence to Thrill is toe-tappingly good fun that will have you dancing in the aisles…literally.
Reviewed on 7th March 2014.