The Lowry, Salford
Craig Revel Horwood has revived some great musicals including Spend Spend Spend and his Fiddler on the Roof is set for the Lowry soon.
For now, he returns to the glitterball and sequins in a directorial role of a different kind - as this is Strictly but not quite as you know it. Strictly Confidential promises to spill the beans about the hit BBC show which has stolen the X Factor's crown due to it's warmth and feel good factor.
Unfortunately, compared with this dance talent show, this entire concept is Strictly flat footed. The star of the show is Lisa Riley - the former contestant who won the hearts and minds of the great British public because as she says - she was not the "joke act of the competition." She wowed the judges and proved that she could dance.
She still has that fancy footwork but the problem is that this show stretches her talents. She dances, then stops, she sings, then dances and at one point she reads some Shakespeare. I am not joking, I wish I was. Revel Horwood has created the concept around Riley. As warm hearted and as a good a compere she is, there are moments when the whole show comes across as really cringe worthy.
The comedy is on a par with a carry on film. Most of the gags seem to revolve around Lisa eating trifle or chips and play on the fact that Lisa is a big girl. Strictly celebrated this by showing the UK that she could dance, regardless. So you forgot her weight. Here, this show panders to so many stereotypes, you feel for Lisa Riley - as she deserves better material than this.
Heart throb Artem Chigvintsev is her partner for the night. They have good chemistry but Robin Windsor 'got her' and I'm not sure Artem does. Natalie Lowe looks splendid and dances with grace and looks every inch the movie star. Ian Waite is good humoured and sends himself up with glee.
The ensemble dancers are also excellent and the backing singers give it all they've got. But lumbered with songs such as Lady Gaga's "Judas" and the Saturdays' "All Fired Up" equals an odd fit for a show aimed at middle aged folk and beyond. And some of the interpretations of these numbers make you snigger.
The main problem is that Revel Horwood doesn't seem to know what this show is. The audience just want the dancers to shut up and dance. But, sadly there's too much of one and not enough of the other. As for the title - don't tell anyone - but Strictly Confidential is simply not very good.
- Glenn Meads