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Diversity - Bringing a Toy Story to Life (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Diversity, the 2009 Britain's Got Talent winners, arrive at the Manchester Apollo with their new tour Bringing A Toy Story To Life. The title may sound Disney-esque but this is not a night for the delicate or faint-hearted.

The main show is preceded by two hip-hop warm up acts.Given the under 30 audience this is aimed at, these weren't to my taste, but were appreciated by the audience in general, as they warm the crowd up getting them ready for their street dance idols. 

The main show opens with a video introduction of the plot: in a toy shop, some toys come to life when the planets are in a perfect alignment. These are Diversitoys, who break out of their boxes to go straight into a stunning dance number. Plans have been stolen from the toy shop and the toys need to recover them before sunrise.

The lads are assisted by a variety of other acts, notably Aidan Davis as the robot boy and ThePETEBOX. Davis is an excellent street dancer and ThePETEBOX shows an incredible technical skill in performing various beatbox noises to create a depth of sound which seems impossible from one person.

The video wall at the back of the stage is not only the backdrop to dances, but also part of the scenery as it becomes doors, lifts and various other items round the toy shop. Occasional props are used as additional scenery but the show relies on the music and skill of the performers.

Diversity do not disappoint their audience. Their dance numbers are tight, energetic and choreographed with extreme skill. Ashley Banjo as the driving force and choreographer of the group is a hugely talented man, not only with his dance, but also as music director. A lot of the show is the more obvious street dance, but Banjo also creates innovative movement and routines which enhance the performance. Diversity recreate some parts of their famous routines, for example their Chariots of Fire race but add in so many new touches that you realise there is life beyond BGT. My daughter and I especially admired the bowling ball!

If you cannot cope with loud modern street dance music then maybe this show isn't for you; but otherwise this is a great evening's entertainment by a seriously talented group of young people who deserve to pack venues for many more years to come.

- Helen Jones


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