Anton and Erin: Swing Time (5 stars)

Anton and Erin: Swing Time

Strictly Come Dancing duo prove to be classy team players

Maybe it's because they're part of an industry which often values celebrity over talent, maybe they've always been this way – but one thing's for sure, Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag know how to share a stage.

The duo have been professional partners for 20 years, learning their craft on the ballroom dancing circuit, before achieving household fame via BBC TV show, Strictly Come Dancing. A programme which not only awakened a love of dance in millions of viewers, but procured Anton and Erin an audience for their live shows – with Swing Time being their ninth UK tour to date.

They're not alone – Strictly spin-offs are becoming fairly ubiquitous – but the care and attention Du Beke and Boag put into their shows really does set them apart. It would be so easy for them to take centre stage, surrounding themselves with lesser dancers and recorded music, but in Swing Time, the opposite is true.

Six technically strong and engaging dancers, who blend musical theatre with ballroom styles, regularly get their own chance to shine. Strictly singer, Lance Ellington enjoys several moments in the spotlight, delivering a knock-out package of jazzy classics with his silken voice. Backing them up, in Edinburgh and Glasgow at least, is the 25-piece Scottish Concert Orchestra whose infectious big band sound had fingers and toes tapping throughout the auditorium.

At the centre, of course, is the couple themselves whose ballroom grace and poise never fails to charm – with their heel-kicking Quickstep to 'That Old Black Magic' a particular highlight.

Every dazzling costume change (and there are a lot of them) heralds a variation in pace and style for both the music and choreography. Solos, duets, trios and ensemble pieces have all been skillfully pieced together with respect for the artform, the performers and the audience.

Which would almost render the banter unnecessary, but Du Beke's audience chit chat is so laugh-out-loud funny it's the icing on an already delicious cake. If he doesn't replace Len Goodman on the Strictly judging panel, it will be a travesty.

Seen at Usher Hall, Edinburgh. Show currently touring.

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