Review: Him & Me. Anton Du Beke, Giovanni Pernice and Strictly dancers. (tour) Curve Leicester

Anton & Giovanni – Him & Me (directed and choreographed by Alan Burkitt)

Strictly Theatre Co. Production

Leicester Curve

Sunday 4th July, 2021 – 7.30pm

The excitement is palpable as the audience awaits the start of this first ever tour by ‘King of the Ballroom’, Anton Du Beke and two-time Guinness World Record holder, Giovanni Pernice. This self-confessed ‘Strictlyholic’ has followed every series since Strictly Come Dancing first shimmied its way into the nation’s heart in 2004. Being here at Leicester Curve for this socially distanced, song and dance extravaganza feels like Christmas come early, with extra bells on.  

The professional dancers on Strictly are now arguably more famous than their celebrity partners. Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice are two of the show’s most popular entertainers. The recent announcement of Du Beke as replacement judge for Bruno Tonioli even made the national news bulletins. Suffice to say, these two perennial favourites are an irresistible combination.

Despite their differences in dance style, age and personalities, the chemistry between the two is ‘A-MA-ZING’. Du Beke is like Fred Astaire, classic, debonair, and fleet of foot. He glides around the stage in an impeccable waltz that is exquisite to watch. In contrast, Pernice puts one in mind of Gene Kelly. The talent, athleticism and masculine grace are there for all to admire.

Time flies as Du Beke and Pernice perform the full range of Ballroom and Latin styles that the audience has come to expect. From Quickstep to Contemporary, there is something for everyone. Big Band numbers from the 1940s segue seamlessly into Motown medleys and more recent offerings.

There are also laughs aplenty when Du Beke and Pernice address the audience. They prove an able comedy duo, whether it is Du Beke spilling Strictly ‘secrets’ or Pernice charmingly mispronouncing his words. Their comic riffing is very funny, especially the unscripted ad-libs. The two men also sing. Who knew that Pernice had that talent up his sleeve and what a rich and resonant voice it is!

Huge congratulations to the supporting cast of singers and dancers who are quite simply ‘FAB-U-LOUS’. They perform the choreography to the highest level and their energy never once dips. They are clearly having the time of their lives and this contagion is catching. Little wonder Du Beke tells us he feels ‘revived’. Furthermore, the gorgeously tailored costumes, staging and lighting work well to enhance the entirety.

It ‘takes two to tango’ and these consummate professionals never disappoint. Du Beke and Pernice provide that ‘sprinkling of stardust’ that is much needed in these Covid-19 times. This reviewer finds herself toe-tapping, clapping, and beaming her way through the whole show. As Pernice himself says, ‘The people has (sic) spoken.’ and judging by the standing ovation, the people clearly adore what they see.

This reviewer is pleased to announce that ‘Him & Me’ will be returning to Leicester Curve on 12th June, 2022.   

Age Recommendation 10+ – Contains haze and smoke.
Running time – 2 hours (including interval)

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