Review: Anton & Erin Just Gotta Dance at Derngate

Ruth Supple reviews the opening night of Anton and Erin's new show, Just Gotta Dance, which is touring the UK . . .

Friday, 22nd January 2016, 12:52 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd January 2016, 12:59 pm

A glamorous age of dance, reminiscent of MGM movies, was recreated in Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag’s new show, Just Gotta Dance, which opened at Northampton’s Derngate last night and is there again tonight prior to a UK tour.

The pair, who shot to fame as professional dancers on BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing, quickstepped and foxtrotted their way through a whole variety of classic numbers to the live orchestra and the rich chocolate voice of Lance Ellington.

This show was like being whisked back to a golden era of dance, when scores of chorus girls in a dazzling array of costumes hot footed their way across the stage . Admittedly, this was a much smaller chorus of three men and three women, but the impact was none the less powerful. And what really impressed me was Derngate stage - with a full orchestra on it - doesn’t leave that much room for a dance floor, yet what a spectacular show they staged.

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This is the fourth year running I’ve had the pleasure of watching Anton and Erin dance and each year they come back with new choreography performed to different tracks. What made a change though was this year - for the first time - there was no snow to contend with on the way there and back!

You get the feeling they are trying to turn the couple into a modern-day Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, as each year the show includes more singing from the twinkle-toed duo. Both of them can certainly hold a tune, though their dancing is in a different league altogether to their singing.

The couple, who have been dancing partners for 20 years, are thoroughly likeable and enjoyable to watch and their friendly chemistry leaks through into the audience. One of the highlights - every year - of the show is where they do a question and answer session with the audience and this year’s provided lots of laughs with Anton talking about how it felt reaching the final of Strictly Come Dancing for the first time ever in the 13 series it’s been running - and he’s taken part.

“Underwhelming,” he joked, adding: “No, it was amazing, and I love doing Strictly, but, for me, doing these tours have the edge.”

And to watch them create a spur of the moment first dance for a wedding, after a chap in the audience wrote that on his question card, was terrific, as was them wishing another man in the stalls a happy 100th birthday.

Now that was very special. Especially when he stood up to give everyone a wave.

Anton & Erin’s Just Gotta Dance is at Derngate tonight; tickets from the box office on 01604 624811