Theatre review by Hannah Richardson
Oh dear, I was really looking forward to Keep Dancing, which is on stage at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday night.
As a ‘Strictly’ fan, I was hoping to be wowed. But I really wasn’t.
Topping the bill were Jay McGuiness – winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2015 – and his professional partner Aliona Vilani.
Having been impressed by Jay’s performance on Strictly, and particularly by his development as a dancer over such a short space of time, I was hoping for something amazing now they’ve had more time to practise.
But the couple’s first dance left me disappointed. It seemed the dance had been choreographed – just as they do during the early weeks of Strictly – so the professional would do most of the movement while her partner did little more than walk in time to the music and catch her at the right moment.
To be fair, Jay’s later performances were much better – although there was a sharp intake of breath from the audience when he fumbled a catch and nearly dropped the lovely Aliona.
I see from the prgramme notes that Jay is set to appear as the lead in Big The Musical, which opens in Dublin on December 7.
Meanwhile, he’s billed to continue appearing in this touring production of Keep Dancing until November 17.
So I can see that perhaps the talented 26-year-old’s rehearsal time is being squeezed all round.
For me, former Strictly professional Robin Windsor was the star of the show, with his partner Anya Garnis, last seen on Strictly partnering Casualty star Patrick Robinson in 2013.
But the main part of the show was given over to a young, energetic and enthusiastic band of supporting dancers and a handful of vocalists.
With no live orchestra, for me much of the music had the inevitable feel of karaoke about it.
Maybe it was just that the music wasn’t really to my taste but I found much of the show, if I’m honest, rather boring.
What the show really does do is make you realise just how exceptional the Strictly professionals are when you see them on TV.