Well, a week into the tour and two shows at a reasonably full Palladium, Janette and Aljaž must be thrilled.
Really, if you are a fan of Strictly there is no way you wouldn't like this. It has every style of dance we see on Strictly and a Fred Astaire theme loosely linking it all together. There's a big screen playing at the back, giving us fun-facts and soundbites from people as far flung as Don Black and Twiggy, while the dancers get changed - and very possibly hooked up to a drip backstage! I honestly don't know how they did it! The energy and stamina levels were astounding - and they'd already done a matinee.
The costumes were to die for - Francis Campbell and Carol Howard - they deserve to be mentioned. Gorgeous, sparkly, swooshy and everything you would expect but don't get any more on Strictly.
The troupe was small - possibly my only slight niggle - though my friends didn't think so at all. Maybe it was due to the size of the Palladium stage, but I felt there could have been more. However, they were all stunning dancers. There was loads of technically difficult tap, which sadly we couldn't see properly in the front row (Drury Lane view this was not) and were not surprised to discover that Alastair Crosswell had been the dance captain for the England tap team.
Singers, Adrian Hansel and Miranda Wilford also deserve a mention. Smoky jazz voices that would have fitted right into a 1940s club. No vocal gymnastics, just beautiful singing.
Aljaž and Janette had a little chat with the audience in the second half. They were beyond delighted to be at the Palladium and Aljaž was proud as punch that his parents were in the audience. They also said 'hi' to the Strictly pros (who had created quite a stir when they entered to the premium stalls seats - they were still posing for photos when the show started) and a blond called Gemma who, apparently, Aljaž had danced with this year on Strictly but of whom I had no memory whatsoever! I thought Louis Smith was also with them, but it could have been someone else with a man bun.
New for this tour was that they'd decided to challenge themselves and sing. Janette is stage school trained rather than dance school trained (that came later...who knew!?) and could hold a song well. I'm no expert, but I did think that Aljaž might have had a bit of, um, technical help with his.
A standing ovation at the end, if this comes in your direction it's a great night - if it's your type of thing. 4.5 stars.
I didn't want to put this in my review as it would have spoilt it a bit, but I have to mention the programme. £10 is the most I have ever spent - there was no choice of a smaller one - it is virtually the size and shape of an LP and won't fit either in your handbag or in whatever place you store your programmes at home, for sure.
Oh well, at least it had loads in it then. Well, no. I'd read it from cover to cover before the woman on the tannoy on my train had announced where we were stopping and to mind the gap.
It also seems to have missed the step in the production process where it goes through a proof-reader and is littered with typing errors. For £10 I expect better quite frankly. There is no order of songs and a disappointing number of full colour photos - some obviously are from last year as I don't recognise many of the costumes.
I would be interested to know if they continue to charge £10 outside London if anyone goes to see this.
But, I paid £44 for a front row Palladium seat so I suppose they have to make up the money somehow.
I saw this in Northampton earlier this week, and I have to agree that I really enjoyed it. A&J are such a great couple and it was just a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. I saw Vincent & Flavia's tour last year and that felt very cheap and mostly filler, with the leads appearing in less than half of it and giving no personality at all, but with A&J they were much more prominently featured and the show kept a much better pace. Obviously they're phenomenal dancers but they obviously love performing (and each other) so much which is lovely to watch. Although I'm still not over the visual of Aljaz gyrating in an open black waistcoat with a Seychelles tan and a smile. He is ridiculously beautiful!! 💓
I saw this on Tuesday and it was wonderful! Maybe they could have done with a couple more dancers, but the ones they had were phenomenal, and could all sing too! If there was a (slightly) weak link for me it was actually Adrian Hansel who hit a few flat notes, but maybe he just had an off day. I must say, Janette and Aljaz come across as a genuinely lovely couple with such warmth. It was a sell out too which always makes for a great atmosphere.
Well, I think they must have read my review from last year because this year's Remembering the Movies tour included a troupe of 10 dancers.
A sell out at the Palladium. Again, Aljaž's family was in the audience and his wonder at the little boy from Slovenia headlining at the Palladium was very moving. They are such a gorgeous couple, so obviously in love and with buckets of respect for each other. This shone through everything they did and was constantly mentioned by everyone around us. Again, many of the Strictly family had turned out - a fact that made it impossible to move in the stalls for people just standing still and staring, filming, asking for selfies, etc. etc. (All a bit daft if you ask me. But still.)
Aljaž and Janette chatted with the audience a lot more this year. A lot. And they were absolutely hilarious. Aljaž joked about going into stand-up and, honestly? He would have a decent shot at it. Their timing as a double act was pretty much spot-on and a lot of it must have been ad-libbed as the show ran nearly 30 minutes over (started late due to the audience refusing to settle, but not that late) and as the Strictly people were in the audience there was a fair bit of banter at their expense. Aljaž's insinuation of Giovanni having made some, um.....ahem.... movies..... was hilarious.
But we went to see a dance show. And a dance show we got. 2 amazing singers, Janine Johnson (I feel like I should have heard of her. What a stunning voice) and Damien Edwards, both totally on form and sounding like a million dollars. Five male and five female dancers, though the boys out-danced the girls by miles. There were a couple of ballet-trained boys who were seriously outstanding. Janette even put her pointe shoes on and showed off her ballet training, though she happily allowed them to outshine her.
Again, there was every style of dance you could wish for, as they ran through an homage to extracts from films of the artists who'd most inspired them to become entertainers. Everything from Dirty Dancing to Casablanca, from La La Land to Live and Let Die, with Aljaž living a nine minute dream of playing James Bond (and looking seriously gorgeous in the role I hasten to add!) Janette did a couple of numbers where she was singing and dancing though, mercifully, Aljaž realised the torture of last year's attempt at singing was still reverberating in our heads and sensibly declined to go that route this time!
Some exhaustingly long routines. (Aljaž was visibly struggling by the end of some of them.) Loads of energy, fast costume changes - all in all a fantastic night out - we ended up with 42nd Streetesque rictus grins on our faces long before the full Palladium standing ovation at the end.
Thought I'd put this here - Here Come the Boys (Aljaž, Giovanni and Gorka) is still touring for another couple of weeks and we caught it at the Adelphi last weekend.
My, but they are 3 handsome specimens. They know it, run with it, but still manage to be lovely at the same time. Ranj, Janette, Neil and lots of others were visible in the audience, though didn't cause the show-stopping ruckus they seemed to at Aljaž and Janette's shows at the Palladium. (Possibly because most of the ladies would have spent every second in that ever-long Adelphi toilet queue and missed them getting to their seats.)
This started off with about 10 minutes of beat boxing, which is about 9.99 minutes too long as far as I'm concerned. (Hello Hamilton...👋) (Did I even say that right? It is beat boxing, right?😳) However, even I recognised the skill of the beat boxer as being pretty awesome. There was just too much of it.
The show was a lot more disjointed that the 'Remembering' shows. There seemed to be not much linking the dances together, apart from a half-hearted attempt at 3 'dance-offs' between the 3 boys. Despite this, the dancing was first class and Giovanni's dance partner, Giulia Dotta, was in a different stratosphere to the others. Absolutely gorgeously elegant, and I would hope to see her on Strictly in the future. (She has done the Australian and Irish versions, according to the £10, annoyingly square, won't-fit-in-your-handbag programme.)
As often seems to happen when we see these shows, there was the most amazing singer, Elizabeth Troy, who we had never heard of and wondered why not. We absolutely loved her. She had an ease to her singing that kind of reminded me of Frank Sinatra or Neil Diamond (though she obviously sounded nothing like either) and not even a sniff of any tonsil acrobatics. She hit each note cleanly and sounded sublime.
The three boys are very obviously fantastic friends and this came across in spades all evening. Yes, they did talky bits and are quite funny - though Aljaž definitely has the edge here, probably because his English is the best and, therefore, his timing's better than the other two. As a cohesive show, I'm not sure what it was trying to achieve. But it was certainly good fun and showcased a lot of talented and beautiful people.