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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Theatre Review: Brendan Cole - License To Thrill

Brendan Cole: License To Thrill is the follow-up to Brendan's first tour Live & Unjudged. The feel and format of the show is very similar. Brendan introduces the dances, and talks a little bit about each. The show has a James Bond theme running through it.

Brendan is partnered by French dancer Feuve Hautot, whom he lovingly refers to as 'Frenchie'. Brendan's brother Scott Cole is back, partnered by former Strictly showdancer Crystal Main. The final couple are Aussie Melanie Hooper, who joined L&U after Nicole Cutler left to have her daughter, and German Patrick Helm.

Brendan's love of performing shines through all the way through the show. But I did find the show a little formulaic. Anton & Erin pioneered this type of show, but Brendan doesn't seem to have moved things on at all. The dancing is great, but as someone who has seen all of the shows with Strictly dancers, this show is not innovative.

That said, the quality of the dancing is better than L&U. I felt that Brendan & Nicole totally outshone everyone else in that show. In LTT, the supporting cast is much slicker and evenly matched and it's possible to watch all the dancers during the group numbers, rather than just watching the leads.

The first half is good - the quickstep is the stand out dance with all three couples darting around the floor - but it's the second half which is captivating. The standout number is the boys doing a cape work routine. It's brilliant. Brendan's recreation of The Time Of My Life is wonderfully performed, but it's been done to death, and I would prefer to see something more original. Equally, the company finish with a jive to Footloose, another dancers' staple.

Despite this, License To Thrill is an entertaining night out, and Strictly fans will love the Q&A session in which Brendan answers questions frankly about his past partners (yes, Lulu, that means you), and anything else people want to ask about.

The tour continues touring around the country until 9th March.

I saw the show at the Barbican in London on 13th February 2013. Thank you to the nice folks at Tony Clayman Promotions.

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