★★★★ Here Come The Boys at The London Palladium 25 May – 8 June 2021
As I travelled to the West End, I realised it had been over fourteen months since I had been on the tube and, more importantly, my last visit to a theatre. What better way to return but to the world-famous London Palladium. Not one of London’s smallest theatres but a friendly beast of a venue. With Covid security always in your mind, the theatre had been precise in their requirements, so was well prepared. Nothing too stringent and handled by a very efficient, humorous team from Lloyd-Webber theatres, I was soon inside and socially distanced in excellent seats in the stalls.
But enough of the housekeeping, Here Come The Boys was a return of the sell-out 2019 tour created around some of the Strictly Come Dancing stars - Aljaž Škorjanec, Pasha Kovalev, Graziano di Prima, Robin Windsor and Karim Zeroual. And boy was there a palpable excitement in the theatre as we waited for the show to begin. As a Strictly aficionado, I was sitting in the row behind Janette Manrara – a Strictly regular and Mrs Aljaž for the uninitiated – Johannes Radebe, and former Strictly contestant and fashion supremo, Julian Macdonald.
The boys are supported by 2014-2015 World and European champion ballroom and Latin dancer, Nadiya Bychkova and a vastly talented company of dancers who worked tirelessly to support the stars of the show.
Director and choreographer Gareth Walker has created a show that brings unadulterated, relentless joy to an audience of fans and Strictly newbies alike. The format is loosely based on a series of dance contests set around an assortment of dance styles – Jive, Salsa, Ballroom, Swing and Rumba - all the ingredients of time-honoured Strictly magic. Each of our boys competes and unsurprisingly each one manages to win one of the contests. Pasha Kovalev is stunning in the rumba, Aljaž Škorjanec and Nadiya Bychkova are graciously controlled and elegant in the ballroom, Robin Windsor dances up an inevitable storm in the jive and Graziano di Prima is comfortably shirtless, accompanied by eternal screams from the audience in much of the proceeding.
As for Karim Zeroual, whilst not competing in the dance-offs, acts as compere/MC throughout and is one of the most talented dancers in his street-dance segments.
Here Come The Boys is a breathless cornucopia of dance styles, excellent choreography with a super-talented company on top form throughout. And, most importantly, a must for these post-lockdown days and, coming to a theatre near you, soon.
Without doubt, feel-good has never felt so good! And as Sir Bruce might say, keep dancing!
For more information, details of venues and booking information please use the link below.
Photos by Fiona Whyte for The TCB Group