With his quick wit and sunny smile, few could deny that Anton Du Beke is among Strictly Come Dancing’s most charismatic performers.
This was probably a major reason why the first night of his latest tour, Ballroom To Broadway, was greeted with a packed crowd at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate yesterday.
The tour will continue with another night in Northampton this evening and I would thoroughly recommend that anyone who has the chance to buy a ticket, takes the opportunity to visit the show.
As a big fan of Erin Boag, Anton’s usual dance partner, who is not taking part in this year’s tour due to pregnancy, I was a little nervous as to how this would turn out.
But, as well as Anton’s light-footed dance talent, there was also a core group of quality performers to give the show a varied feel. This cast included a full orchestra as well as West End star Summer Strallen, singer Lance Ellington and Burn The Floor dancer Faye Huddleston.
I had not seen much of Summer Strallen’s work before. I knew her solely as a former Hollyoaks actress hailing from a time when I had to turn the programme off due to its terrible acting.
But Summer has clearly come a long way since then. In every number in which she was involved, she completely lit up the stage. She seemed to have an extraordinary ability to combine complex dance steps while simultaneously belting out a song.
One highlight for me had to be the ‘Chicago’ scene in which she sang All That Jazz while carrying out very ambitious dance moves. Her lift on the shoulders of three male dancers, in which she threw herself upside down while holding a splits position was truly amazing.
Her vocal performances, unsurprisingly (given her West End CV), were top quality and she had a commanding presence on stage reminiscent of a 1940s film star such as Judy Garland or Ginger Rogers.
Meanwhile, Anton certainly did not disappoint, with a string of elegant performances which left the audience wanting more. One highlight was a routine carried out with Faye Huddleston to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Music Of The Night. This gave a wonderful contrast to the prevalently upbeat tone of the show.
As ever, Anton’s question and answer session with the audience left everyone laughing. This was helped along by Erin Boag’s presence in the audience as he tried to recall a particularly funny story about their joint baby-sitting experience.
Anton always seems to start his tour in January and it really helps to brighten up a rather dreary month. The show comes highly recommended. See www.royalandderngate.co.uk