REVIEW: Brendan Cole Licence to Thrill – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Choreographer: Brendan Cole
Musical Director: Barry Robinson
Reviewer: Lauren Humphreys

Originally published by http://www.thepublicreviews.com

45 nights into a 48 date tour of his show Licence to Thrill, Brendan Cole’s energy and enthusiasm for his art is seemingly unwavering. It is testament to Cole’s talent, engaging and generous personality and the first class quality of this show that, right from the outset, Cole had this vocal, notoriously unpredictable and hard to please Glasgow audience firmly in the palm of his hand.

In a fast-paced whirlwind tour of the ballroom world the audience is treated to, among others: the Argentine Tango, Waltz, Quick Step, Samba, Foxtrot and Samba as well as a bit of audience participation in the form of a Q & A session led by amiable musical director Barry Robinson. Accompanying the dance spectacular is a polished twelve-piece orchestra and first-rate singers Julie Maguire and Iain Mackenzie and fellow dancers Crystal Main, Melanie Hooper, Patrick Helm, brother Scott Cole and Strictly Come Dancing favourite Aliona Vilani.

Cole is undoubtedly the star of the show and the reason this giant auditorium is packed, but to his credit he shows great generosity towards his fellow dancers and the musicians, allowing each their moment in the spotlight. There’s a feeling of genuine camaraderie and friendship here which radiates to the audience. Cole’s commitment to deliver a top quality show and genuine care about his fans shines through; constantly scanning the audience, catching their eye, bantering through the links between the numbers, he seems to feed off of the buzz of seeing the reaction of his fans.

It’s camp, it’s cheesy but it’s also a class act. It makes no claims to be high art and the simplicity of the format coupled with the sheer quality of the material delivered makes it infinitely more watchable and enjoyable than the shows of his fellow Strictly professionals. A case in point being Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace’s Midnight Tango a show which feels the need to weave a flimsy narrative around a series of set piece Latin dance routines. The variety and originality of the choreography here is crowd pleasing from start to finish and free from the restrictions placed on him for Strictly.

It’s a chance to see the man behind the “bad boy” TV image and glimpse the infinitely more endearing “real” Brendan Cole. Joyful from start to finish and a masterclass in giving an audience exactly what they want. A real class act.

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