The sight of excited theatre-goers snaking out from Oxford Circus’ London Palladium is one that the capital’s streets have sorely missed.
The opening night of Here Come The Boys has brought dancing fans, and a number of Strictly Come Dancing professionals, out in force.
Here Come The Boys is not a show format new to avid Strictly fans, having toured the country before the pandemic began.
This season’s new-look cast features Alijaz Skorjanec, Pasha Kovalev, Graziano di Prima, Robin Windsor and Karim Zeroual.
The show opens with the promise of “transcending all genres of music and dance” and largely delivers as the audience are thrown from jive to rumba and salsa to ballroom.
As much as Here Come The Boys thrives on its slick choreography and dazzling lights, it’s the charisma of the Strictly stars that carries the show.
The professionals, who the audience have grown to love from wintery Saturday nights in front of the television, come alive under the Palladium lights.
Alijaz is a clear fan-favourite, arriving on stage to a roar and wolf-whistle each time. He’s keenly watched by wife and fellow Strictly pro Janette Manrara, to whom he delivers frequent winks and cheesy grins.
However, by no means is this the Alijaz show. Graziano is a fairly new face to Strictly but bounds around stage with Italian flair. The smiley Robin and experienced Pasha also prove to be key cogs in the machine.
You’d forget that Karim only turned to dancing when competing on Strictly in 2019 – he slots into group numbers seamlessly and delivers an à la mode TikTok mash-up with aplomb.
The 27-year-old also hosts the evening, chatting to his fellow dancers and knitting the sometimes random running order together confidently.
Despite its name, Here Come The Boys also stars a number of female dancers.
Its most high-profile casting is Nadiya Bychkova who steals the show more than once.
At one moment the 31-year-old reminds the audience that “behind every great man is an even greater woman” and proceeds to appear in a whopping six numbers back-to-back.
The evening passes by with the dances and faces that are familiar to the Palladium crowd, who have waited such a long time to see their favourites back.
What isn’t as expected from the show is the inclusion of a title-winning beatboxer who makes regular appearances throughout the night.
His best work is done in the background as he jazzes up tracks with beatboxing to add an extra impetus to numbers – an effort that goes unnoticed at times.
When he is thrown into the spotlight the dancing show stutters a little.
A forced round of beatboxing with the professionals comes after the interval, three of the cast seemingly forgetting about the segment – Robin Windsor runs out with just a towel around himself having been kicked onto stage mid costume change.
The cast bounce back from that in a heartbeat and deliver a finale mash-up that embodies everything that is so great about the Strictly Come Dancing movement.
It’s a breath of fresh air to see the TV stars in the flesh and on an iconic London stage after so long.
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