For the fourth year in a row I found myself sitting in the Royal Concert Hall waiting for Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag to take to the stage. That lovely sound of the orchestra warming up filled the spaces of the hall that people didn’t occupy – which was hardly anywhere. Myself and my mother sat in the second row from the front of the stage – the perfect view – and waited patiently for the show to begin.
Oh, and what a show it was.
It has to be said though – Du Beke and Boag don’t like to experiment. The usual layout of the show was presented to me with the same razzmatazz as years before. Unlike Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, who had three vastly different shows ranging from purely dance, to a musical, to a beautifully acted piece, Du Beke and Erin keep to what they know. As I lay the four programmes in front of me, I can even see some songs are repeated over the years. Du Beke and Boag dance together, they dance apart, they sing together, they sing apart, the orchestra plays and Lance Ellington (another Strictly regular) sings too. It seems like a showbiz formula. Am I complaining, though? Definitely not. If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.
The part of the show that differs from the norm and ensures you have an unique experience is the question and answers session. I always look forward to this section of the afternoon as I never know what to expect – and neither do the performers. Du Beke is the King of Audience Interaction and always has a cheeky quip to make. I was lucky enough to have my question answered this year and received the perfect answer.
Please excuse me if I’m star struck, I’m not quite over it yet.
And then there’s the singing. When I first saw Du Beke open his mouth and notes fell out, I was surprised. I can’t say I particularly loved it – he will always be better with his feet than his voice – especially when he was singing next to Ellington who is a professional nonetheless. However, it was something your ears accepted because who doesn’t like a Fred Astaire wannabe? But the two had obviously taken more singing lessons because this year their voices were much better. Not quite at Ellington’s level – but it added a whole new element to the performance when the audience aren’t internally cringing.
Of course it would be ridiculous to review the show and not mention the dancing. However, I feel it’s equally ridiculous to state the dancing was beautifully performed – because, of course it was. Du Beke doesn’t get called the King of Ballroom for nothing. (Is that the second time I’ve called him a King? Can you feel my crush through the screen yet?)
If you bought tickets to this show and expected a range of ballroom and Latin dances, you would be incredibly disappointed. There is still variation throughout the show – dances such as the waltz, to the Charleston, to the tango – but if you’re looking for a party you went to the wrong venue. Du Beke and Boag always put on a good show – but it’s an afternoon of class, elegance and laughter.
So, would I recommend this show to you? Is it rude to say, “duh”? If you’re a Strictly lover and like to laugh, then I definitely would. If you like an afternoon of good music, of course. If you love a hat-and-cane number, then this is the show for you. Even if you don’t – go anyway. You’ll be surprised how quickly you fall in love with a live orchestra, good singers and stunning dancers.
If you liked this review then please let me know! I’m still learning the ropes so feedback is always appreciated. Thanks so much for reading, Evee 🙂