Strictly Come Dancing, alongside Blue Planet and Doctor Who, is one of those indulgent, high budget shows that the BBC does so well. We love the glamour, the glitz and the sparkle of it all; but alas, outside of this bubble the professional dancers of Strictly must live out their seedy, illicit lives. This is a world of fitness DVDs, branded kitchen utensils and live tour shows like Peacock Theatre’s Latin Fever. Glitter and gold is a long way away, and Brucie is nowhere to be seen.
Latin Fever is Strictly’s Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova’s promise to gyrate their way through “an exhilarating mix of drama and spirit” for the history of Latin music, though in reality it felt like the audience had mistakenly walked into a rehearsal session. On the dingy plain black stage of the rather ropey Peacock Theatre the production was distinctly low-budget. A few lights jiggled about, a couple of chairs got rolled out and even a mirror ball emerged for a few songs. Coupled with a truly awful live band (and their even worse singers) Latin Fever lacked any atmosphere, Latin America has certainly not been transported to Holborn. Bognor Regis Butlins maybe, but definitely not Rio.
Sure, the dancing was good, though at many points the backing dancers might have even been better than Bennett and Kopylova; but this isn’t a cheap ticket and with the exception of the obvious hardcore Strictly fans in the audience, many of the audience walked away feeling probably more than a little grubby. With more attention to theatrics and production this show could be amazing, the choreography is truly stunning so it’s a pity no one thought to put just a little more effort in.
Latin Fever runs until June 28 with tickets from £15 - £42.50 at the Peacock Theatre, Holborn.