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Brendan Cole: Show Man, Theatre Royal review: More to this ex-Strictly star than just dancing

PUBLISHED: 09:35 24 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:35 24 March 2019

Former Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan Cole in his new production Show Man, Picture FIONA WHYTE PHOTOGRAPHY.

Former Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan Cole in his new production Show Man, Picture FIONA WHYTE PHOTOGRAPHY.

FIONA WHYTE PHOTOGRAPHY

He may have made his name as a dancer on Strictly but in Brendan Cole: Show Man the star proved there is more to his repertoire than slinky hips and a strong ballroom frame.

Former Strictly star Brendan Cole in his new production Show Man, Picture FIONA WHYTE PHOTOGRAPHY.Former Strictly star Brendan Cole in his new production Show Man, Picture FIONA WHYTE PHOTOGRAPHY.

Now on his eleventh theatre tour, the dancer’s latest offering at the Norwich Theatre Royal was heavily inspired by the movies and opened with a homage to one of the biggest films in recent years - The Greatest Showman.

The songs (and Hugh Jackman) are what made that film a hit and Brendan, along with his superb singers and band, did an excellent job to bring the magic of the circus to the stage with the help of a local dance school.

Between routines the New Zealander engaged with the audience and reminded all of us Strictly fans of his cheeky persona which made him a fan favourite.

This was most evident when he reacted to a shout from the front row that his flies were undone with natural humour and charm that had the mostly female audience wanting more.

There were of course references to Strictly Come Dancing. Cole gave his own take on his controversial sacking, impersonated Kevin Clifton’s shock at finally winning the glitterball trophy and made enough comments about Anton Du Beke to earn the Strictly stalwart some royalties.

The first half moved through a large variety of numbers some of which packed a stronger punch than others. A Jersey Boy routine and Charleston fell a bit flat but it was the two fiercely passionate dances which showed off Cole, his cheopgraphy and his supporting cast the best.

First came a moody routine to Prince’s Purple Rain which was packed with spectacular lifts and even a surprise guitar solo. This stand out number was then topped at the end of the first half with a sensational Argentine Tango which felt like a mini show within the production and I could have easily watched the intricate ganchos for a lot longer.

For me the second half was not as engaging as the first but it allowed Cole to show off his versatility with more Bublé-inspired singing and even a stint on the guitar.

Throughout the show his team of professional dancers more than held their own with the headliner and a special mention must go to Nancy Xu who had the talent, stage presence and spark to make it on Strictly.

Cole announced before the final Footloose number that he will be returning to Norwich with the same show next year and although I probably won’t watch it a second time, by the chatter and excitement from the audience, I think there will hundreds queuing up to see him again.

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