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Brendan Cole - Live and Unjudged (Tour - Salford)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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It may be called Live and Unjudged, but Brendan Cole’s latest stint of his very own tour is certainly enough to, in traditional Len Goodman fashion, gain a flurry of (cue voice) ‘sevens’ from an expert panel.

Rather than exceeding expectations, as was the case with Vincent Simone’s and Flavia Cacace’s production of Midnight Tango, this is a show that undoubtedly leaves an audience satisfied, but remains predictable throughout. Minus a very impressive duet of Michael Buble’s number "Home", in which Brendan joins with singer Iain Mackenzie to prove himself as an all-round artist, the setting, the format and the placement of the choreography has very little to blow you away.

While the singing is strong, especially Julie Maguire’s version of Whitney Houston’s powerful ballad "I Have Nothing", the performers position upstage nearest to the live band is more fitting for an evening of cabaret, than a night of top quality Tangos and Paso Dobles.

What is more, although having three pairs of dancers on the stage at the same time is captivating for some of the numbers, there are moments – most notably in the "I Have Nothing" -Viennese Waltz – where it would be far more powerful and hypnotizing if Brendan and his tour partner Melanie Hooper were left to take over the floor on their own.

That said, there are stand out moments and Brendan’s dancing remains as slick and controlled as ever. In particular, the passion and storytelling in the Argentine Tango, performed to ‘El Tango De Roxanne’, is electric and visually entrancing, while the interactive element of the show certainly keeps an audience entertained.

Strictly speaking, this is no five-star production, but if you are a Brendan fan, then the energy, glitter, and top quality footwork will definitely be enough to leave you Cha Cha Cha-ing your way home.

 - Rebecca Cohen


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