Review: Keep Dancing

PEDESTRIAN, perfunctory and passionless, the expected Latin fire and ballroom bounce is sadly missing from this week's offering at the Playhouse. The Playhouse, Greenside Place* *
Keep Dancing at the Playhouse  Robin Windsor - centreKeep Dancing at the Playhouse  Robin Windsor - centre
Keep Dancing at the Playhouse Robin Windsor - centre

Cashing in on the popularity of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, Keep Dancing attempts to further fuel the Strictly phenomenon with a programme of Latin and ballroom set-pieces with just a smidgen of disco thrown in for good measure.

Indeed, that’s how the show opens. White clad dancers, ala Saturday Night Fever, giving it big licks as three vocalists, perched above on a bridge that crosses the stage, belt out You Should Be Dancin’. Yeah.

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It’s all very cruise show. With the company introduced and without further ado Strictly favourites Robin Windsor and Anya Garnis are welcomed to the stage. Immediately the energy lifts.

Next on are 2015 Strictly winners the gangly Jay McGuiness, charming but not really a mover, and his dance partner Aliona Vilani, who, McGuiness announces, is “with child”. It’s an awkward moment.

Despite the ordinariness of their routine, however, the audience, many of whom have invested in the pair over the weeks of the TV competition, love them... and that’s the secret of this show.

It isn’t really about the dancing, it’s about sharing a couple of hours up close and personal with the stars that, week in week out, have been welcomed into your living room.

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Giving the company a break, Jay and Aliona also answer questions tweeted by fans, it’s a stilted few minutes with predictable questions: ‘What do you miss about SCD?’

Thankfully, Windsor and Garnis are on good form. Both perform their routines rather than dance them, connecting not just with each other but with the audience too.

Their chemistry may be electric, but it’s still not enough to save the show, which fails to even live up to its title.

Frequently, dancers decamp, leaving the stage to the three vocalists... with varying degrees of success.

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The theme from New York, New York brings out the corny crooner in Adam Warmington, whose delivery of old favourites is unique.

Harriette Mullen, meanwhile, has a belt, but it’s Lisa Marie Holmes who steals the show and proves great value whenever the spotlight falls on her.

An infectious Latin beat opens the second half but the party never quite makes it into the stalls.

Jay and Aliona return for their second, and last, dance before a lively jazz selection proves another rare highlight.

It’s too little, too late.

Playing out with a disco megamix and Gloria Estefan medley should have the audience on their feet.

It doesn’t.

Run ends Saturday

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