Tuesday, 16 February 2016

'Strictly Come Dancing Live!' The o2 Arena ****

There’s always something in the year that you’re aware that you will have a really gratifying time and how a television programme can be transported into a theatrical touring experience to 10,000 people. The annual ‘Strictly Come Dancing Live!’ tour was an exhilarating production where the programme is brought to life into an arena; furthermore, the performances by the company were excellent.

‘Strictly Come Dancing Live!’ is set in the replica of the set that is used of the TV series where we are introduced to a slightly modified version of the BBC hit show where seven celebrities from the history of Strictly Come Dancing are partnered by some of the much loved professional dancers dance two different dances. They are judged by Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli just like the TV show and as such they will offer the couple and the audience a critique on each dance. Hosted by comedienne, Mel Geidroyc we are taken on the Strictly journey where 2015 champion, Jay McGuiness along with fellow 2015 contestants, Helen George, Ainsley Harriott, Georgia May-Foote and Anita Rani are joined with 2014 contestants, Frankie Bridge and Jake Wood who are contending for the glitter ball trophy and declared winners of the Strictly tour. There’s an immersive element to the whole production where the audience are given the sole responsibility to vote for the couple they want to win that specific performance and the cameras are on hand to film the production. The celebrities are couples with the ever popular professional dancers, Kevin Clifton,  Aljaž Skorjanec, Karen Clifton, Giovanni Pernice, Aliona Villaini, Gleb Savchenko and Janette Manrara  who offer some stunning dance routines and it shows how Ballroom and Latin American dancing can be really cool. Over the course of the performance, the judges’ score each dance similar to how it works on the TV series and as you’d expect from Craig his comments can be quite blunt compared to how Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli offer a more positive critique.  The dancers and celebrities perform with a live band, led by the marvellous Allan Rogers and sung by the familiar singers, Tommy Blaize, Andrea Grant, Hayley Sanderson and Lincoln Jean-Marie so it’s a full Strictly Come Dancing experience in the space of three hours.  Mel Geidroyc’s hilarious hosting style adds to the beauty of the show and her reference to hit baking show, ‘The Great British Bake Off’ depicts how funny she is. Wonder if she will be joined by her comedy partner Sue Perkins next year and let’s hope that this becomes a reality? At the finale, the audience’s text votes are tallied up and the eventual victor of this specific performance was Jay McGuiness and Aliona Villani who lift the glitter ball trophy and the whole company dance one final routine and that’s a wrap.  The narrative is glistening as we are increasingly transported to the Strictly Come Dancing show where humour, applause and emotion are all brought to the fore to 10,000 people and it’s a very natural plotline which is a talent show theatre extravaganza. 

One found the performances by the company of, ‘Strictly Come Dancing Live!’ tour to be ecstatically sensational as the dances were brilliant as the celebrities and professional dancers bring vibrancy to whole thing. The host and judges are thoroughly entertaining as they seem to bicker with each other just like you would see in the TV show. The ensemble dancers, Charlie Bruce, Jake Leigh, Besola Peters and Jasmie Takeras brought danger to the entire production such as the acrobatic elements which conveys that evolution of dancing. 

Craig Revel Horwood’s direction and Jason Gilkin’s choreography is fabulous here as they have helped bring a TV show into a gargantuan arena where all of the elements have been brought together to portray the splendid programme that is Strictly Come Dancing to people who would not have the opportunity to visit the studios in Elstree. Patrick Docherty’s set design is awesome as it’s very similar to the one use on the actual show and the LED screens on either side brings the viewpoint to great effect, in addition to this, Vicky Gill’s costumes designs are gorgeous as the female dresses to the male clobber were tremendous as it brings the glitz and glamour to it which is dreamy. Overall, the experience of, ‘Strictly Come Dancing Live!’ was a spectacular one and I cannot wait for next year’s nationwide tour and this is definitely a theatrical piece of entertainment that is most enjoyable.

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