Strictly Come Dancing Live (Tour – Manchester)

For fans of the hit BBC TV show, ”Strictly Live” delivers glitterballs, sequins, superb dancing, comedy and celebs.

Strictly Live
Strictly Live

Strictly Live has been filling arenas all over the UK for many years now. Fans file into these vast spaces hoping for a good view of their favourite celebrity. But the professional dancers' appeal should not be under estimated either. Artem Chigvintsev – for example gains wolf whistles and round of applause and that's before anyone has even seen his fancy footwork.

The judges Len, Craig and Bruno are all present and willing to play up to their image. So, we have a nice fair critique, an animated appraisal and a cutting (tongue in cheek) boo inducing judgement. Each of these guys sends up their own persona with relish. True – that much of these banter feels over rehearsed and very panto. But for many in the audience – just seeing and hearing these mainstays of Saturday night television is enough.

As for the celebs – Natalie Gumede wins the glitterball on the night I attend and deservedly so. This talented actress is amazing to watch. She glides across the floor of the Manchester Arena like a butterfly and her chemistry with Artem is a joy to behold. Audience favourite Susanna Reid is runner up and clearly loves the experience that the show has given her. As do all of these famous people who have replaced their every day lives with fake tan, white teeth and sequins and punishing training routines.

Former contestant Lisa Riley is the MC of the show and she manages to get the audience on side immediately. Her warmth and professionalism comes across and this vehicle is suited to her. Unlike Strictly Confidential, which made her look awkward, as it was too staged. Here, she is in Disco heaven.

Mark Benton brings comedy and Deborah Meaden makes you realise how far these guys have come on. Watching her shed her Dragon's Den persona is truly heart-warming as she has become a great dancer.

Craig Revel Horwood directs the show and even though halfway through part two, it feels a tad samey – there is enough going here from the TV show to please the most ardent of fans. Newcomers might wonder what the fuss is about but from what I saw these were Strictly fanatics.

For Natalie Gumede alone, this show is worth catching as every now and then someone takes part in this show and a true star emerges. Gumede is the real deal, as is this fun and lively arena tour.

Strictly Come Dancing Live is at the Manchester Phones 4 Arena tonight (7 February), followed by the O2 Arena in London.