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Darren & Lilia – Latin Fever

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova have been popular regulars on Strictly Come Dancing since Series 2 (October–December 2004). They’ve wowed us with their steamy Latin allure, he a compact groover, she a nicely round Latin-ista for whom the world plumpteous might have been invented.

It surprised nobody when Sadler’s Wells booked them for a season at the Peacock, its sister theatre in the West End, and although the show isn’t subtle, it has energy and exuberance and show-off good fun.

As the name suggests, Latin Fever is a journey into Latin American ballroom. It is glamorous and polished ride, from the streets of Brazil to the bordellos of Buenos Aires and bullrings of Spain by way of the tango, rumba and salsa. There’s a fly-buy of Cuba for the cheeky cha-cha-cha, and then, slightly out of place, comes the America dance hall with its swing and the jitterbug.

As I say, it’s not remotely subtle, plus the backing dancers are only okay, and the orchestra and singers are a disappointment. The show’s direction is also wobbly, with bumpy changes of pace and far-from-smooth transitions. But with Darren and Lilia you overlook it. They wizz around the floor with rumbustious good humour and really are dancefloor dynamite.

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