It's that time of year again...
For the sixth year in a row lovely Anton off of Strictly is on the road independent of the official Strictly tour, taking his brand of shtick, fleckles and excellent suits on tour. So what's new?
Well, first things, first he's on his own. Pro partner Erin Boag is, selfishly, pregnant meaning that her role in the tour is limited to some choreography and wardrobe advice (she still gets a whole page in the programme, mind). Instead, lovely Anton is joined by Summer Strallen aka current darling/superstar of the West End aka the one that Andrew Lloyd Weber inserted into a lengthy Hollyoaks storyline to publicise her run in his production of The Sound Of Music.
Is Erin missed? To be blunt, not really. See, the thing about Summer Strallen is she has an incredible voice AND is an incredible dancer. She partners lovely Anton in all of the 'Broadway' numbers in the show and does so faultlessly. She also has a couple of show stealing solo numbers, including belting out All That Jazz whilst hanging upside down in a box split suspended between the shoulders of two male backing dancers. She's magnificent and, to be honest, I'm a bit sad that she won't be on the tour next year when Erin comes back (according for the advert in the programme).
The absence of Erin also makes for a cheekier lovely Anton. As well as his usual line in Strictly anecdotes, verdicts on the other contestants ("Susanna Reid was a bit annoying") and musings on his own attractiveness ("I know, I've got a mirror") we were also treated to jokes about his sexuality, how many menopausal women were in the audience and 'shoe' size.
The quality of the dancing was no lower either. As well as the 'Broadway' routine with Summer, there were also a number of proper ballroom routines with Burn The Floor alumnus (am I the only person in the world that hasn't been in that show?!) Faye Huddlestone. A highlight of her involvement was a mind blowing quickstep with a series of frightening lifts.
Music-wise, the excellent Lance Ellington was back for another year. Criminally underused in the Strictly band, Lance was as cool and accomplished as ever; a cracking version of This Is The Moment was a definite highlight for me. He also got to dance a bit too, and did very well in a trio rendition of (the frankly not very good) Steam Heat from The Pyjama Game.
All in all a great night out, as lovely Anton tours always are. Recommended.