An electric evening of high-energy, high-impact, high-calibre dance. To summarise: fab-u-lous!
A view that I’m sure may be shared by a handful of passers-by is that, on the surface, Here Come the Boys sounds a bit cringe; a bit too cheesy; perhaps a bit too Strictly-fied… well, I am stepping out of my impartial reviewing shoes to encourage those of you that may have judged this show too quickly, just as I myself am guilty of doing, to push those first impressions to one side and experience for yourself what is an absolutely riotous evening.
In an extremely happy turn of events, my above assumptions were proven absolutely correct (there is ample cheese) but Here Come the Boys is also one of the most genuinely fun evenings I have experienced in London theatre to-date. It of course helps that the cast is comprised of seasoned pros; no strangers to the spotlight and not only comfortable, but compelling in the way they can work an audience. For this particular production, the five headliners (Aljaž Škorjanec, Graziano Di Prima, Pasha Kovalev, Karim Zeroual and Robin Windsor) are accompanied by a standout selection of professional dancers, as well as the Strictly-glam Nadiya Bychkova.
The structure of the shows follows a competition, with the hosts (a position shared by the loveable Karim and world famous beatboxer Bass6) spinning a wheel to determine which dance the pros will battle it out for to be crowned King of the Dancefloor. Now, it is fooling absolutely no one that neither the wheel nor the eventual winners are actually randomised or influenced by audience applause, but the spirit of friendly competition feels authentic enough and really helps to bring the evening to life.
Over the course of 100 minutes, the audience is taken on a whirlwind tour of all things ballroom and Latin – as someone who fancies themselves a good sofa-judge of the Strictly performances, nothing can prepare you for the jaw-dropping reality of seeing them perform in real life. The drama of each lift (and apprehension) is heightened but, most of all, it’s the storytelling that really shines through. Each dancer and each dance is so unique and so gripping in its own manner: in one number, argumentative angst bursts through; in another, an honest and sincere romance shines brightly. There is also an obvious balancing of tradition and contemporary which, in my opinion, works like a dream, switching from Tik-Tok inspired street dance to the classic quick step, proving the dexterity of all members involved. My only criticism is that the swing section is lost slightly to the novelty of modern song covers. But, other than that, it’s faultless.
For all Strictly and dance lovers there’s the right balance of entertainment and technical quality on show here. Intermixed with beatboxing and bad puns, Here Come the Boys is a true crowd-pleaser; old and young alike are able to groove away to pop-hits, Latin bops and swinging classics, bringing a true party to the London Palladium!
- Dance Theatre
- Directed and choreographed by Gareth Walker
- Produced by Steven Howard
- Cast includes: Aljaž Škorjanec, Graziano Di Prima, Pasha Kovalev, Karim Zeroual, Robin Windsor, Ash-Leigh Hunter, Giada Lini, Grace Cinque-White, Rose Wilde, Bass6, George Michealides, Mick Scott and Nadiya Bychkova
- London Palladium
- Until 9th June 2021
- Time: 100 minutes, plus interval