Showtime for Anton and Erin as Strictly duo celebrate Fred, Ginger, Chaplin and Elton

Terpsichorean twirlers Anton du Beke and Erin Boag toast their return to the dancefloor in their first tour since early 2020

LONGSTANDING, long-dancing ballroom couple Anton du Beke and Erin Boag are reunited in Showtime at York Barbican tomorrow night (18/2/2022).

After a fallow 2021, when the pandemic put paid to their tour plans, the Strictly Come Dancing alumni have been on the road since January 28 this winter, playing 30 dates that will take in further shows in Yorkshire at Hull New Theatre on February 22 and 23.

“Not only 2021 was lost,” says Strictly judge Anton. “We lost shows in 2020 as well; we were into the last week of our tour, when were going to play York and then go onto Scotland, so it’s been a while since we danced together.”

Sevenoaks-born Anton, 55, and New Zealander Erin, 46, are taking to the dance floor in Showtime, a “glittering tribute to some of the world’s greatest icons of entertainment”: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Charlie Chaplin, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Liza Minelli, Elton John and more besides.

Glittering tribute: Anton and Erin are ready to dazzle in Showtime

Returning to dancing after sitting down through the 2021 series of Strictly on the judging panel, Anton says: “To be honest with you. it’s been like ‘wow, I only feel like I’m 28’ because there’s a lot of experience to fall back on.

“We did a few special shows at the back end of last year, like one night in Leeds, where we were only there to do a couple of numbers, and my biggest concern was ‘would the suit still fit’. It did! Then Erin asked, ‘would you do up my zip’, and her dress fitted perfectly too.”

Erin says: “I’m fit! There aren’t many dancers at my age still going strong, but I am, though I’m not the same [dancer] as I was 20 years ago – or even two years ago. But keeping fit is the easiest part. The hardest part is the technical side, but I’ve been really looking forward to the tour as I don’t think anyone will notice that!

“Maybe adrenaline can get you through the first few shows and the presence of an audience can do that too, as well as working with people again, performing with a big orchestra. It’s all about the enjoyment of getting back to dancing again.”

“It’s all about the enjoyment of getting back to dancing again,” says Erin Boag

Six months of preparation have gone into Showtime, a show produced by Raymond Gubbay that combines the dazzle of ballroom couple Anton and Erin with “stunning costumes, fabulous live vocals, a high-energy dance ensemble and a sensational 23-piece orchestra”.

“We have a new sound company working with us, great lighting and costumes,” says Anton. “When there has been no shows, it’s been so much more than Erin and me not being able to put on a show. No shows means no frocks, no work for sound engineers. That’s why it’s important that now that shows are back, the message is clear that people can feel safe to come into a theatre.

“It’s also important that people work harder to make the experience enjoyable, with venues going the extra mile. We get that venues need to be safe, but their job is to make it enjoyable within the safety guidelines. Don’t be officious, be welcoming!”

Anton And Erin in Showtime, York Barbican, tomorrow (18/2/2022), 7.30pm; Hull New Theatre, February 22 and 23, 7.30pm. Box office: York, yorkbarbican.co.uk; Hull, hulltheatres.co.uk.

Copyright of The Press, York

Hooray! York Musical Theatre Company cast raises a glass to Hollywood’s golden age ahead of Rowntree Theatre show

York Musical Theatre Company cast members Cat Foster, left, Henrietta Linnemann, John Haigh, Richard Bayton, Helen Spencer and Rachel Higgs dress the part for Hooray For Hollywood! at Nola in York

YORK Musical Theatre Company will offer escapism to Hollywood’s golden era after release from the pandemic lockdowns at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York.

The classic American cinema of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s will be explored in song in the slick and sophisticated six-hander Hooray For Hollywood! from November 8 to 10.

Devised and directed by Paul Laidlawthe piece was first staged at York Theatre Royal Studio in 2007, and now Laidlaw reignites his show with a cast of six – Richard Bayton, Cat Foster, John Haigh, Rachel Higgs, Henrietta Linnemann and Helen Spencer in a nostalgic, whirlwind journey through the sounds of a bygone era from the MGM, Warner Bros, RKO and Universal studios.

Richard Bayton, left, and John Haigh raise a glass to Hooray For Hollywood! at Nola

“Packed with a classic collection of love songs, torch songs and comic numbers, Hooray For Hollywood! covers iconic artists such as Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra to name just a few,” says Laidlaw, who recalls the premiere 14 years ago.

“We’ve actually performed the show at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre before, as well as at the York Theatre Royal Studio. As we head into our 120th year next year, it felt right to be a bit nostalgic and look back at some of our original pieces that audiences loved and revive them for new audiences.

“We loved performing The World Goes ’Round a few years ago and this show has a similar feel in that it’s a small cast and is fast paced and slick but will take the audience on a magical musical journey.”

Cocktail time for York Musical Theatre Company cast members Rachel Higgs, left, Henrietta Linnemann, Cat Foster and Helen Spencer at Nola

In the lead up to next month’s performances, Laidlaw’s cast members have been Puttin’ on the Ritz in a photo-shoot at the Nola jazz restaurant and bar in Lendal, designed to evoke the glitz and glamour of vintage Hollywood.

“Housed in the old congregational chapel on Lendal, the gold, mirrored decor of Nola was the perfect setting as the cast of six brushed up their white tie, tails and top hats – so to speak! – and posed with martini glasses in the 1920s’ Art Deco atmosphere,” says publicity officer Anna Mitchelson. 

“Richard, Cat, John, Rachel, Henrietta and Helen are now deep into rehearsals for the show, learning intricate harmonies and weaving famous Hollywood melodies together in a unique and clever way.”

Tickets for the 7.30pm performances cost £15, £12 for age 18 and under, on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk. 

Song and dance meets English stage humour in Crooners big band show

In the swing of it: Crooners celebrates the golden age of song and dance

CROONERS, a rip-roaring comedy music show with a splendiferous injection of big band swing, charms its way into the Grand Opera House, York, on March 6, at 7.30pm.

On a mission to bring old-school variety back to the theatre with a “quintessentially British twist to the genre symbolised by the crooner”, this new collaboration bonds comedy writer and performer Roman Marek with the outrageous ten-piece swing combo The Mini Big Band.

“I’m a song-and-dance man,” says Marek. “I was brought up on the music of the super-cool crooners, but also on the quintessentially English stage humour of Morecambe and Wise, Bruce Forsyth and Max Bygraves.”

Crooners revels in the songs of the Rat Pack’s Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, together with Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin and Britain’s very own crooner, Matt Monro.

We have a set list of material never before heard in a theatre production,” says Marek. Tickets for this “truly British swingin’ affair” are on sale on 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york.