REVIEW: Anton and Erin Dance Those Magical Movies at Sheffield City Hall

The Strictly legends put on the glitz for a big Sheffield crowd - here's our verdict...

THERE’S a moment during this glamorous, glittering show when Anton du Beke channels his inner Austin Powers.

Hijacking a stylish James Bond-theme routine, the self-styled clown prince of Strictly Come Dancing grins at the audience as he goofs around, all the while never putting a foot wrong.

The segment perfectly sums up the recipe for the whole performance: one part James Bond, one part Austin Powers.

While Anton has been hamming it up on our screens for 17 series now, long-time partner Erin Boag called it a day seven years ago after deciding to have a family.

The pair have been dancing together off-screen throughout, clocking up an impressive 23 years together.

And their comfort with each other is evident both in the way they move in and out of hold and in their easy banter.

Soundtracked by songs and themes from movie musicals, the afternoon’s entertainment takes in timeless classics like Luck be a Lady (from Guys & Dolls) and Moon River (from Breakfast at Tiffany’s) alongside more modern hits — a showstopping medley of tunes from The Greatest Showman, for example, is a fittingly spectacular finale.

The music comes from talented singers Lance Ellington and Laura Emmett, each given a handful of moments in the solo spotlight, and a polished 23-piece orchestra led by musical director Richard Balcombe. 

Anton and Erin are the afternoon’s MCs as well as its dancing stars, and Anton even chips in with a little (not bad) singing, too.

Along with a six-strong troupe of backing dancers, they make tremendous use of a thin strip of stage left by their sizeable musical accompaniment, twirling, gliding and leaping around to a wide variety of silver screen favourites.

There’s precious little Latin — an effervescent West Side Story medley aside — but that’s probably to be expected with the king and queen of ballroom.

The two-hour show slips seamlessly between dancing demonstration, concert experience and “An Audience With”-style entertainment, keeping the interest of those who can easily have their fill of rise-and-fall.

There’s joy in one unscripted exchange such as when Anton catches a front-row fan in the act of snapping a pic on her smartphone and critiques her blurry camera work.

Relaying how she’s opined about him “not standing still long enough”, the Strictly legend fires back “It wouldn’t be much of a show if I did that, would it?” 

It’s all good humoured banter and taken in the spirit it’s intended — and there are hints of Anton’s hero Sir Bruce Forsyth in his easy bantering with the audience.

A post-interval Q And A is predictably cosy and reveals predictably few secrets — Anton visibly squirms when asked which of his past Strictly partners he would “snog, marry and avoid”.

However, a segment where Erin is given the mic to herself — the first time in 23 years she’s not had to share with Anton, she says — provides real insight into the numerous beautiful costumes on display.

Engaging company and eye-catching whether slinking around in a glittery catsuit to the theme from The Pink Panther or being gracefully led by Anton through another perfect waltz, the experienced Kiwi more than holds her own and is clearly having a ball throughout.

Like a roast dinner with all the trimmings, this cheesy but fun matinee show makes for satisfying, comforting fare.

The spectre of Strictly is never far away but Ellington, Emmett and the band ensure even those who can’t tell their Charleston from their cha-cha will find much to enjoy. 

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