Brendan Cole – Live and Unjudged
Victoria Theatre, Halifax
Brendan Cole is that rare kind of entertainer - fantastically talented, totally in his element on stage, yet utterly devoid of vanity or conceit.
He can dance like Fred Astaire - sing with the best of them, interact effortlessly with the other performers on stage, banter spontaneously and hilariously with his audience - and laugh at himself.
Yes, he can send himself up as all great performers can. Only the mediocre and the insecure take themselves seriously and believe their own hype.
Live and Unjudged is Brendan’s own composition - written, directed and staged by the 35-year-old New Zealander.
After the dramatic, cloak-wielding Carmina Burana O Fortuna introduction, Let Me Entertain You inspired the immaculate Paso Doble which opened the show and set the standard for the wonderful evening’s entertainment that followed.
Half the stage was filled by the terrific 12-piece band and they were obviously having a ball - nothing po-faced about them despite their formal evening attire. Two superb singers, Julie Maguire and Iain Mackenzie, could sing in any style.
Graceful, strong, nimble-footed and sexy, Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan and his elder brother Scott, no mean dancer, with lithe Andrew Guerden partnered glamorous Melanie Hooper, Izabela Rai and Hanna Haarala in a dazzling array of dances.
The first half featured Latin American styles, the second Ballroom.
Each one was faultlessly characterised from the shimmying Salsa, haughty Tango, slinky Foxtrot and lyrical Viennese Waltz to the frenetic, eagerly awaited Jive.
The show was part of the fourth and final UK tour of Live and Unjudged.
For technique and for artistry the audience, jigging happily on two left feet to the Cha Cha on Brendan’s instructions, would have awarded every performer a perfect 10.