From quicksteps to duets, TV’s ‘Strictly’ stars Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag delivered their entertaining ‘Showtime’ at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall with customary panache.
Billed as a “glittering celebration paying tribute to some of the greatest entertainment icons”, the matinee performance was as smooth as a lacquered up-do and clearly delighted a packed house of all ages.
Spice Girls to Broadway
The Manchester Concert Orchestra – led by conductor Richard Balcome – opened the show, honestly sounding as good as any West End production.
The first number, ‘Get The Party Started’ was an unexpectedly cabaret/swing reworking of Pink’s 2001 hit, setting the musical tone.
The next couple of hours was a whirl of sequins, banter, chat, anecdotes, fancy footwork and lifts.
Given how slippy the floor appeared to be this was at once nerve-wracking and impressive.
The choice of choreography and music – from the Spice Girls to Broadway favourites – landed well with the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ fan base you’d expect in this audience.
The first half’s ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ was a great showcase for Anton’s super singing voice and brought the first of many well-deserved cheers during the show.
The second half swept in with some Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers glamour guaranteed to gladden the heart, complete with nods to the costumes of the legendary pair’s various movies.
The energy in the house ramped up and – just like that! – the show went from ‘really good’ to ‘West End-excellent’.
Costume-wise, there was no scrimping.
You wanted feathers, tassels, velvet or tails? You got them by the bucket-load.
A stunning pair of capri blue shoes worn by Erin certainly caught the eye. They were just beautiful, which isn’t surprising given the three thousand Swarovski stones we were told were used to create them.
The troupe of six supporting dancers worked extremely hard throughout the show – with lifts and choreography challenges a-plenty.
They made it all look so easy – the mark of true professionals.
Mention must also be made of the fabulous voices and stage presence of guest vocalists Elizabeth Futter and Lance Ellington, stars in their own right, adding even more sparkle.
My companion said she would have liked more dance routines and less Q&A chat – and I confess I felt a bit the same.
Although it was heart-warming to watch some of the oldest and youngest fans.
Fans also starred
Those fans included birthday girl Joyce, 90, and sparkly dress-toting Ruby, eight, sharing the limelight with their idols.
I think if hips and knees had allowed, many more of us in the audience would have been jumping up and down with glee alongside the youngest fans.
Not surprisingly, this 20th February show brought many to their feet with a finale standing ovation.
10/10 Anton, Erin and company for a lovely afternoon’s entertainment!