Review: ‘Strictly Come Dancing Live’ @ The Birmingham N.I.A.

I was definitely skeptical about seeing ‘Strictly’ live: how would the dancing and dazzle come across on a stage in a large arena?

Answer: stunningly, wonderfully and breath-takingly. 

‘Strictly: Live’ was absolutely fabulous: it was glitzy, glamorous and intensely emotional. The celebrities were clearly committed to their roles, including the arrogant yet hilarious Nancy Dell’Olio, and had clearly worked immensely hard in order to ready themselves for the opening night.

The judges – Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman and Craig Revel-Horwood (no Alesha, thank goodness) – were equally superb. They were definitely more risque than in the television shows, making for a hilarious evening. Bruno’s innuendos were out in full force, Len’s ‘seveeeen!’ had clearly been perfected, and Craig’s role at the evil queen was dramatically wonderful (although even he failed to keep a straight face when Nancy was going off on one – highlight of the evening!).

Of a particular surprise was the compering. I am not a fan of Tess Daly – she’s doesn’t seem to have that chemistry with audience or competitors which would allow her to react to situations in a fluid manner, instead of clearly rehearsing what she’d been told earlier. Kate Thornton, on the other hand, was wonderful – she was funny, quick-witted and was able to move between dancers and scorecards with ease.

The celebrities – well, what to say? They were equally stunning, even the ones that didn’t dance (ahem, Nancy) and greedily stole Artem and Robin (who wouldn’t, given the chance?!). I was particularly impressed by Anita Dobson, who was clearly having the time of her life. Robbie Savage left an equally good impression – he was utterly charming, and responsive to both the judges and audience in this charismatic way – although Craig’s utter fury when Robbie jumped on the judges desk at the end was unexpected and delightful! Chelsee Healey, Mark Foster and Jason Donovan were also fabulous – even if our Aussie friend did drop his partner at one point! I really though Chelsee had won the audience text votes with her outstanding performances – her footwork was definitely to be admired. But no, that glory fell to the wonderful, the gorgeous and the winner of my vote – Harry Judd. His quick-step was to die for – it told the most beautiful story to the music (something which I’ve genuinely never appreciated in dancing before). He owned the floor, and was the deserving winner of the evening.

I did not expect to enjoy myself as much as I did. ‘Strictly Live’ is a thrilling experience – it brought tears of laughter and emotion to my eyes (particularly the second professional dance to ‘Pure Imagination’ – I wanted to bawl like a baby), as well as being fascinating to watch in terms of choreography and chemistry created by the movements. I would whole-heartedly recommend going. It was a beautiful evening, and this write would definitely put down the ‘seveeeen!’ card in favour of three tens.

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