As a live event it lacks spontaneity and drama. Despite the occasional outburst of vocal democracy (inexplicable audience support for a stiff-jointed Vanilla Ice) it is inevitable that show winner Sam Attwater performs best. The audience is so accustomed to the format that, rather than build suspense, the recitation of the rules and the judges’ comments provoke an almost Pavolvian response.
With the exception of Attwater the women skate better than the men, relying less on their expert partners, taking greater risks and making better use of the larger space. The first Act feels flabby with the routines interrupted by interviews and judgements. The pace quickens with more dancing and less talking and the professional dancers providing breathless displays of acrobatics.
The Live Tour is a compromise mixing material with which the audience are familiar from their TV screens juxtaposed with routines better suited to the larger arena performance space. Some of these routines are stunning - as a result, as there is more scope to cover more ground.
The format though, however, too cautious and replicates what audiences have already seen on hit show, rather than challenge them, and the performers, to try something new. After all the whole point of a live event is to see something not available at home. This is also evident in the reaction from many in the audience who talk throughout as if they are at home watching the gogglebox.
For anyone who simply wishes to see the likes of Denise Welch and Vanilla on the ice, the show delivers, but if you seek more than that - you'll be disappointed.
- Dave Cunningham