Director: Craig Revel Horwood
Reviewer: Clare Howdon
Strictly Come Dancing Live!, currently on tour across the UK, is the perfect tonic to ease the January blues. The tour, now into its 15thyear, is once again directed FAB-U-LOUS-LY by Craig Revel Horwood and the long-running judge is to be congratulated on producing yet another show-stopping production. It is impossible not to get swept up by the TV show’s glitzy, toe-tapping energy and the live production is no exception.
Revel Horwood is joined by co-judges Bruno Tonioli, Dame Darcey Bussell and Shirley Ballas, whilst the evening is expertly hosted by 2016 Strictly champion Ore Oduba, whose rapport with both the contestants and audience is effortlessly charming.
The couples who don their dancing shoes and sequins on this tour include; 2018 champion Stacey Dooley and Aljaž Skorjanec (standing in for Kevin Clifton), Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice, Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell, Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev, Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara and Graeme Swann and Karen Clifton (replacing Oti Mabuse). There are also group numbers featuring the professional dancers, while the soundtrack is performed by the wonderfully talented Strictly singers and live band.
As usual, the couples reprise their favourite routines from the series. Ashley and Pasha blast through their much-loved chip-shop jive from the TV show (gaining them the first 40 of the series) which even inspires Oduba and Revel Horwood to have a go of the tablecloth trick themselves, much to the delight of the enraptured live audience. Stacey and Alijaz deliver a dark and daring Paso Doble whilst Faye and Giovanni resurrect their delightful The Lonely Goatherd from The Sound of Music. Joe and Dianne rock out, reprising their show dance to Arctic Monkey’s I Bet You Look Good on The Dancefloor and Dr Ranj and Janette lit up the dance floor with their Cha Cha to How Will I Know, which wowed audiences in the very first week of the TV series. Finally, whilst Graeme and Karen’s dances leave them bottom of the live-show leader board, Swann’s humour and impressive ear for accents makes him a sure-fire hit with the Liverpool crowd.
To ramp up the excitement to fever pitch, not only are the live audience treated to some beautiful singing by Tonioli whilst Bussell and Ballas showcase their impressive dancing skills during the final number, spectators also get the chance to vote for their favourite dancers. And to add another layer of icing to the Strictly cake, the evening is also jam-packed with pyrotechnics, which are fully utilised during the dance numbers to maximum effect.
There is no denying that Strictly Come Dancing Live is, like it’s television counterpart, unapologetically camp and cheesy but as many a Strictly fan would agree, it is precisely this that gives the show it’s charm. It is, without a doubt, a vibrant, uplifting and riotously fun evening of entertainment.
Reviewed on 29 February 2019 | Image: Contributed