Impressively the new nationwide tour of Puttin’ on the Ritz has managed to book alternative Strictly stars at almost every venue it will visit. Later into the run, Jared and Katya will take the lead, but for now, Wimbledon was treated to appearances from both Robin and Krsitina, and Pixie and Trent.
Sadly however, as has been seen before with shows of this nature, contributions from the promised stars are few and far between and completely separate from the main cast.
Criticism aside, when they do take to the stage Robin and Kristina are a bundle of energy and their self-choreographed numbers are slick and polished. The pair perform mostly Latin numbers which are precise and pack a punch, however my favourite of their five numbers was a much softer contemporary Rumba to Somewhere Over the Rainbow with Kristina pulling off her signature “splits to standing” move impressively.
When compared to Kristina, Pixie’s relative inexperience is apparent but doesn’t detract from some still very watchable performances. Her long limbs are a little wild in places but her stage school training means everything is delivered with a smile. The Ballroom numbers are particularly lovely, delivering the traditional feel the audience wants; their Tennessee Waltz is all sweetness and light, followed by a careful Foxtrot to Me and Mrs Jones where Trent works hard to keep any faltering footwork at bay.
The stars are by no means the main body of the production, with the above performances very much slotted in between numbers from a cast of six singers and ten ensemble dancers who deliver classics from Cole Porter, George Gershwin and more. Sadly, the staging of this main body feels rather dated, with couples swaying from side to side some other unimaginative choreography. Thankfully proceedings hot up in the second act with an energetic Charleston section that finishes with the cast sat on the end of the stage to deliver an intricate hand Jive section.
Perhaps the most enjoyable moment, if jarring with the theme, was when Pixie took to the mike for performances of her own hits Mama Do and Cry Me Out. Her vocals are spot on and she is joined by Trent and wife Gordana, who makes a brief cameo for this segment. Pixie’s younger influence both delighting younger fans and traditionalists alike.
First published in Dance Today – July 2015