Pasha and Katya promptly burst onto the stage, accompanied by the Strictly theme tune and it quickly becomes apparent that this is a show most definitely for the Strictly super fan in its content, costuming and chatter.
Katya’s glittering array of gowns change more times than one can keep up with and Pasha does an admirable job of filling these moments, sharing Strictly anecdotes with compare, Mike Newman. The emphasis on his role as the Strictly new boy only serving to endear him further to an audience who clearly already adore him.
Particular highlights included their Rumba to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” where the acting skills featured in Katya’s big screen debut in “Take The Lead” are once more displayed, bringing a convincing intensity to the performance and only served to enhance its beauty. I was also pleased to see that neither Pasha nor Katya showed any weakness between ballroom and latin dances, both genres proving to be equally strong for them despite Katya’s insistence in the Q&A that she favoured the softer ballroom styles.
The stars are ably supported by “Got To Dance” semi-finalists and Professional Latin dancers, Ryan Hammond and Lindsey Muckle whose routines featured ambitious lifts and exciting choreography making them a pleasure to watch in the Strictly dancers absence from the stage. The Michael Jackson routine that saw them through the auditions on the Sky1 hit show leaving the audience breathless with its dramatic drops.
A favourite moment was the recreation of the memorable air hostess inspired Quickstep performed by Chelsee and Pasha in the Strictly final, an unexpected but welcome touch in what was otherwise all stunningly performed new routines and it was fascinating to see Katya’s interpretation of the same steps. For such a new partnership both demonstrated impressive sharpness and effortlessly succeeded in drawing the audience in whether the dances demanded them to be serious or fun. Pasha was especially sleek in the classy Foxtrot. Women of St Albans simultaneously melting. Although, I could not help but feel, that there weren’t quite enough of these moments. Add in the scripted chat, extended audience participation, Q&A and performances from local dance schools – the original performances sometimes felt few and far between. Pushing aside my grumpy inner dance purist, however, it was a wonderfully enjoyable and feel-good evening geared towards pleasing the Strictly faithful, and judging by the comments flying around as I left, this was a role it easily fulfilled.