REVIEW: A Night To Remember Opera House, Blackpool

Brendan Cole heads the cast in A Night To Remember
Brendan Cole heads the cast in A Night To Remember
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When you’re a star of one of the nation’s favourite TV shows, and you’re out-shone by a kid you’d be forgiven for being a bit put out.

But not Brendan Cole, who took it all in his stride as ‘five-and-a-half year old’ Charlie Ratcliffe joined him on the Opera House stage.

Once dubbed the bad boy of ballroom for some of his on-screen antics, he certainly showed the softer, family man side in this instance.

Little Charlie – under six street dance champion of Great Britain – surely gave 
his parents an extra special Night To Remember on their trip out to see Strictly Come Dancing star Cole’s show of that name.

While Cole and his super talented troupe showcased the Latin and Ballroom dances beloved of the Strictly audience, it was during a Q&A that Charlie won the crowd’s hearts and a standing ovation... dismissing Brendan’s own (somewhat dad-like) street moves and demanding music to be able to strut his stuff, he almost took the glitterball trophy for that night’s performance.

And he demonstrated the all-ages appeal of Friday night’s show, with 95-year-old Winifred getting a kiss from Cole to celebrate her birthday.

As they burst on to the stage, swirling capes in a fashion Madonna could have learned a few tricks from, there was no Holding Out For A Hero among Cole and his gang, in their paso doble-influenced opening.

Plenty of middle-aged women swooned, and the older crowd swayed especially when Brendan turned to what he does best – ballroom.

A contemporary inspired waltz, to Des’ree’s Kissing You, partnered by Fauve Hautot – a past winner of France’s version of Strictly, was divine and beautifully choreographed.

Quite how Hautot can bend like she did, I don’t think I’ll ever understand. And few could fail to have been touched by the Cinderella Viennese waltz.

While Brendan is undoubtedly the star of the show, it’s his name on the poster after all, he’s built an excellent team around him and allows his fellow dancers, the superb 12-piece band and singers Iain Mckenzie and Julie Maguire time to shine too.

At times the routines didn’t quite fill the Opera House stage, a symptom of being more used to smaller spaces I’m sure, but a snazzy quickstep did see the dancers fly enjoying the freedom of the venue’s size.

A bit of theatrical fun came in the shape of the hoedown dance battle before the final push to the hyper-energetic jive closing routines.

One for the grannies, great-grannies, and the little ‘uns, which everyone should remember for quite some time.

ANNA CRYER