Strictly Come Dancing – The Live Tour, The NIA, Birmingham
Monday 21 January 2013
Chandeliers hang over the vast space of Birmingham’s indoor arena, twinkling with fairy lights. The set design pretends to evoke a ballroom, but really represents a television studio, all lit up with Saturday night sequins.
The Strictly Come Dancing live tour is all about putting the familiar show on stage, carefully repeating favourite moments.
As on screen, the dance performances are framed by training videos and judges’ comments. There’s a panto atmosphere, with lots of shouted catchphrases from the audience, some (often surprisingly broad) innuendo.
The three judges have fun playing up their roles: Len Goodman as old school head judge, Bruno Tonioli laying it on thick as the flamboyant Italian and Craig Revel Horwood, who also directs the live show, doing his best grumpy faces as the nasty judge. The audience votes – by text, on the night, with a donation to Comic Relief for each vote.
If the judges are in character, so is everybody else. Celebrities on the reality television contest tend to talk about their “journey”, their week-by-week progress. A one-off show can’t do that; instead, it acts as an encore, a retrospective. Everybody plays the approved version of themselves: plucky underdog, judges’ darling, the one who won.
A few partnerships have been reshuffled, to allow for celebrities’ and dancers’ other commitments. Now dancing with Pasha Kovalev, actress Dani Harmer jokes that she’s trying to turn him into Vincent Simone, her on-screen partner. In fact, the new pairing may give her an edge: she still dances with bouncy charm, but reaches a little further, her lines a little longer. The live show clings to its familiar script, but it’s fun when it goes off message.
The most recent series had a strong field, with celebrities looking at home on the dance floor. There’s some exuberant shimmying from Lisa Riley, gentler ballroom from Michael Vaughan and Fern Britton. Denise Van Outen gives the most polished performance, sleek and slick in her jive and Charleston. We all know Olympic gymnast Louis Smith will win: he has a handsome face and does backflips. By tradition, Strictly now needs a comedy candidate, so cricketer Phil Tufnell joins the tour and makes jokes about his dad dancing.
The professional dancers guide their celebrity partners smoothly through routines, and come back to show off their technique in glitzy routines. Strictly’s live show is brisk and slick, avoiding surprises.
Tour continues until 10 February; www.strictlycomedancinglive.com
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing 'Singing Sorceress' Celestina Warbuck
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
American film board gives gay film Love Is Strange R-rating despite no sex or violence
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians