What do ardent Strictly Come Dancing fans do when the series has ended, and won’t be back on our screens for another eight months? One option is to see the Strictly tour , which features twinkle-toed and two-left-footed celebs from several of the series; another is to find out how it should be done by watching the series’ professionals in action.
Anton du Beke and Erin Boag, stars of the Cheek to Cheek tour, are Strictly veterans, having appeared in all six series, although neither has ever lifted the mirror ball trophy. Unhampered by celebrity partners, they are certainly accomplished and beautiful dancers, although the rather small stage at Barbican Hall didn’t allow them to gather as much momentum as they might have liked. The London Coliseum, to which they are returning at the end of their tour in April, might serve them better.
There was also a degree of uncertainty to the start of their programme, reflecting the fact that this was the first night of their tour, and perhaps unfamiliarity with a new stage, with a few stumbles in an otherwise adept opening quickstep. However, a waltz to Moon River was unashamedly, and charmingly, romantic, and a dramatic, staccato tango to ‘O Fortuna’ showcased the couple brilliantly.
Curiously, the supposed stars of the evening were rather overpowered, in terms of the dancing, by their supporting act, salsa champions Chris Marques and Jaclyn Spencer, who brought fiery energy and passion to every one of their numbers, from a sensual rumba and a cheeky cha cha to a spectacular paso doble and a truly show-stopping salsa, danced to a special arrangement of Take Five.
The fact that the main couple failed to thrill to the same extend on the floor may well be due to the fact that Anton’s focus was more on his Bruce Forsyth-esque gags and chat between numbers, in which he attempted to flirt with the audience and made somewhat questionable quips about his less talented Strictly partners (and occasionally about the ever-gracious Erin).
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In all fairness, a substantial portion of the audience had probably come to see Anton’s act, rather than his dancing, yet he did give the impression of a comic presenter who occasionally takes a few steps, rather than a professional dancer capable of introducing a number. Perhaps he is hoping the Strictly producers will allow him to switch roles in a future series, and let him, rather than his feet, do the talking.