Anton & Erin – Cheek to Cheek, London Coliseum

Audiences new to the world of ballroom dancing thanks to the success of Strictly Come Dancing are comfortably catered for by this show, devised by two of the series’ professional dancers.

Stars Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag have been dancing together for more than 12 years, serving for half that time on the BBC show. This live spectacular plays to their strengths as defined on television. In Du Beke’s case, that means he is often more comfortable exchanging a nod and a wink with the audience than he is engaging with Boag, whose flowing lines and sure-footedness present a much more traditional view of ballroom.

With the principals’ expertise in the ballroom discipline on display throughout, the Latin dances in the repertoire are showcased more effectively by Chris Marques and Jaclyn Spencer, who add real heat to Du Beke and Boag’s warmth. All four dancers, along with a highly impressive ensemble, perform in front of the mighty big band sound of the London Concert Orchestra, with some songs also benefitting from a fine vocal performance from Richard Shelton.

Unfortunately, some of Shelton’s solo spots do sap the whole evening of its momentum somewhat. Any dance show which builds in breaks for a sung number takes a risk and Shelton struggles to make his presence felt while alone upstage under the Coliseum’s enormous proscenium. He works much better when performing alongside the dancers, but the net effect is a first act which feels choppy.

Thankfully, the pacing of the post-interval repertoire is much improved, with Marques’ and Spencer’s salsa to Take Five marking the point at which the show moves from very good to superb, with a tango arrangement of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana song cycle a particular highlight, Du Beke’s obvious struggles with some ambitious lifts notwithstanding.

* _Reviewed for [The Stage](

**London Coliseum**, April 22-26
**Producers:** Askonas Holt, Raymond Gubbay and Sadler’s Wells
**Cast & choreographers:** Anton du Beke, Erin Boag, Chris Marques, Jaclyn Spencer
**Director:** Alan Harding