Last night, we were treated to Ola and James Jordan, Karen Hauer, Natalie Lowe, Artem Chigvinstev, Pasha Kovalev and Robin Windsor dancing with Louis Smith, Denise van Outen, Phil Tufnell, Michael Vaughn, Fern Britton, Dani Harmer and Lisa Riley respectively.
The arena show follows the same format at the television show each couple dancing two dances; a Latin and Ballroom with the show spilt in to two halves. The judges (show favourites Craig Revel- Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman give their scores and the audience get the chance to vote by text for their favourite couple.
As you would expect the dancing is fantastic. There is a good mix of abilities within the pairs with cricketers Vaughn and Tufnell providing some good solid comedy moments whereas Harmer, van Outen, Riley and Smith perform some beautiful numbers; notably Van Outen and Jordan’s "Walk like an Egyptian" Charleston that went down so well during the TV series. Another highlight is Smith’s "Time of your Life" salsa (performed with Ola Jordan on the tour) which goes down a storm.
It is fair to say that Smith and Van Outen steal the show dance wise but it turns out to Lisa Riley’s night. Being in her home town does indeed give her an advantage that she relishes. Coupled with great dancing with the effervescent Robin Windsor, the pair foxtrotted and cha cha cha’d their way to victory, much to Lisa's obvious delight.
There is everything you would expect from the TV series; great costumes, a fantastic live band, wonderful singers and of course, top class dancing with the professional dancers taking to the floor for a couple of numbers without their respective celebrities.
I am not so sure if the magic of the live dance translates as well for those seated at the top of the arena but this does not seem to deter people year on year attending this fantastic show. The judges use all their catch phrases, the celebrities do all they can to get your vote and there is a winner of a glitter ball trophy.
So, again Strictly on tour is "FAB-U-LOUS darling."
- Ruth Lovett