Strictly Come Dancing Live * * *
at the NEC Arena
Review by Jayne Howarth
Strictly Come Dancing hit our television screens four years ago and now more than seven million of us watch avidly as the hand-sewn sequins and light-footed (and less so) trip around the dance floor.
The formula has been taken out of the studio and on tour, with its "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. The stage show is a facsimile of the TV programme and features eight celebrities from the five series including Letitia Dean, Matt Di Angelo and the gorgeous Louisa Lytton.
The dancing - a Latin and a ballroom section - was for the most part divine, from Zoe Ball's dramatic tango to Christopher Parker's embarrassingly lumpy and wooden efforts.
Putting them in the shade were the fabulous professionals who staged stunning displays.
Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone's tense Argentine tango was awe-inspiring.
You couldn't help but wonder if the comments from the acerbic Craig Revel Horwood, Arlene Phillips and Len Goodman were trotted out at every show but this was pure panto and we lapped it up.
Birmingham's Denise Lewis, who was described as goddess-like after her rumba, would have been crowned champion had it not been for the audience vote. In a cheeky money-spinner, we were invited to use our mobile phones and vote for our favourite celebrity. Once again, Darren Gough and his diminutive partner Lilia Kopylova held the trophy aloft. Every show has a different winner.
It might not be the same without Brucie and Tess (it was compered by Kate Thornton) and Bruno Tonioli, who was in LA, but it is pure entertainment.
With art deco staging, beautiful costumes and giant glitter balls, the show is a triumphant and camp celebration of dance.