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Strictly Gershwin (Southampton)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Strictly Gershwin is a triumphant amalgamation of classical ballet with Gershwin`s inimitable music.

The audience is treated to a mix of music from the 20s and 30s alongside more modern numbers, for an evening of nostalgia and stunningly versatile performances from English National Ballet who perform classical ballet alongside ballroom, tap, jazz and surprisingly even roller blading to create fabulous visual effect.

Act 1 Gershwin on Broadway starts with a dazzling performance by 2011 People’s Choice Award Winner, Shiori Kase and her partner Yonah Acosta.

Paul Robinson and Douglas Mills` toe-tapping performances to “Fascinatin` Rhythm” and “Strike Up The Band”, are unforgettable as are the stunning costumes and choreography for “An American in Paris”.

Act 11 Gershwin in Hollywood features Gershwin`s most famous work, “Rhapsody in Blue”. Erina Takahashi and Zdenek Konvalina`s fantastic dancing only serves to enhance what is an all-time favourite tune.

For me the highlight of this evening is Anais Chalendard and Arionel Vargas`sensual, moving interpretation of Porgy and Bess’ “Summertime”.

Perhaps nobody could duplicate Fred Astaire`s rendering of “A Foggy Day (in London town)” but Paul Robinson gets close after a muddying, throatiness at the start of the song.

“Fascinatin` Rhythm” as a light hearted Finale is a spectacular performance of music, movement, and colour. A veritable feast for the senses.

Throughout this brilliant show Gareth Valentine not only conducts his orchestra for this amazing extravaganza but keeps the audience amused with his obvious enjoyment of his work.

Unforgettable music, amazing costumes and great atmosphere serve to make this a show well worth watching!


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