BALLROOM moves, big band tunes and bevvies in The Blue Coat — it was Latin fever with a local twist when a Strictly-themed show took to the stage at Rotherham Civic Theatre.
The Ballroom Boys — AKA former Strictly Come Dancing professionals Ian Waite and Vincent Simone — brought “Act Two” of their successful show to town, following their original tour in 2019.
Waite has talked of the inspirations behind the show — a mix of old-fashioned variety, comedy, song and dance — including comedy performers Morecambe and Wise and Little and Large.
And the comically-sized pair play upon their foot-height difference, no end — including Simone in a wig and dress, complete with Italian flag boxer shorts on display, as he is twirled around in Waite’s arms.
“How good to be back in the north,” says Waite warmly, “where you actually have a sense of humour — and I say that as a southerner!”
There are jokes at the expense of his diminutive partner, as Simone claims to be Strictly’s “original Italian stallion” — Waite retorting “more of a pony”.
And even a little bit of politics, with Waite joshing that Simone’s visa runs out in a few months.
A few audience members’ gasps draw the quip: “What? You voted for Brexit!”
The pals also give shout-outs to town centre pubs The Blue Coat and Renoirs, claiming to have enjoyed a bevvy or two in the local haunts.
But for all the laughs, this show, produced by the Strictly Theatre Co., is Strictly serious when it comes to dance content.
With the main choreography by Waite and Simone, the pair are joined onstage by professional dancers and West End stars Faye Huddleston and Despina Violari, both of whom are also credited for additional choreography.
International vocalist Amelia Adams provides some soaring songs to accompany the routines, including Diamonds are Forever and One Night Only, and all three fabulous females take to the floor — and chairs — for Chicago’s All That Jazz.
But the highlights of the night are when the boys are back.
Waite and Huddleston are on fine form with a glittering, esquisite paso doble to Frozen 2’s Into the Unknown.
Carnival vibes and colourful feathers take over for a sizzling samba and salsa.
But it is Simone’s passionate Argentine tango with Violari that is a show-stopper as the fabulous finale.