With an almost capacity audience the popularity of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing stars Natalie Lowe and Ian Waite is evident. With promises of 'a night you will remember forever' I was really looking forward to this show and took along my mother, a former Latin American dance teacher herself until reaching 80!
The show started off with spectacular lighting as Natalie, wearing a fabulous white gown and partnered by Ian, quickstepped across the stage to 'Let's Face The Music And Dance'. An absolutely fabulous start to the show increasing my expectations. There followed an amusing little dance sketch of the 'Gangnam Style' routine that brought great hilarity to TV's Strictly when performed by Natalie and Ed Balls.
As fabulous male singer Luke Upton took to the stage to sing 'Almost Like Being In Love', the next dance, the waltz, was dedicated to 'Brucie' former presenter of Strictly. Luke also performed with Natalie and Ian in last years' tour of 'A Touch Of Class' and for this year is joined by female singer Cara Dudgeon. Both gave powerful individual performances and equally when supporting our dancers.
There is no denying the dances were beautifully choreographed and executed perfectly by Natalie and Ian, the music was good, the staging during dances with the lighting was bright and colourful, the singers a welcome addition to the show, so why am I feeling deflated? Well, for a dance show I expected more dancing but maybe that's my mistake after all it is called 'An Audience With...' and that's is what you get. Around twenty members of the audience were invited onto the stage and in a blatant advertising spot for their fitness company 'FitStepsFAB (For All Bodies) which encourages people of all ages and sizes to keep fit through dance even if you cannot dance! They were then taken through the steps of the Charleston.
There was a long drawn out question and answer session with the audience. Promises of an 'interactive' section which you would need a programme to participate in for the second half, (sales ploy!)This again turned into a long drawn out affair with the audience game of 'Have You Ever?' in which you needed to raise a paddle (from the programme, or if you didn't buy one you were told to raise a hand... now why didn't they say that earlier?)
Ian added humour throughout the night but after a while his cheesiness and crass innuendo began to grate and given there were children in the audience, a crude joke at the expense of another Strictly dancer was uncalled for. There was a ridiculous costume change on stage whereby again two audience members were invited up to 'help out'. Boring, I did not really want to see your 'I Love Strictly' sloganed underwear Ian!
Both Natalie and Ian related little stories, mainly name dropping which really were not all that interesting and took far too long to get to the point and at times difficult to hear from the upper circle…which brings me to the occasions where both dancers and singers left the stage to go into the audience. I'm sure it was entertaining for the stalls audience members to watch but upstairs we were left looking at a blank stage!
Having seen other dance shows my expectations were high, sadly this show is lacking in content, I could not fault the dancing and would have liked to have seen more of that.
'A night you will remember forever?' yes... for all the wrong reasons!
Reviewer: Lorna Weekes
Reviewed: 10th June 2016
North West End Rating: ★★★