Last night I danced the night away – well, sort of. It was more a permanent state of jiggling about in my seat for a couple of hours and my best friend was in the chair beside me doing the same. The reason being, that we were at a performance if Rip it Up at the Ipswich Regent.
Rip it Up is an evening of dance to the songs of the fifties and it was like a visual jukebox of fun. Strictly fever is once again at high pitch and so it was no surprise that the packed audience was eager for the evening’s entertainment.
Starring in the show was Strictly Come Dancing’s Natalie Lowe who, as well as leading the cast, was also the choreographer and alongside her, two previous Strictly winners: Louis Smith (Olympic gymnastics medallist) and Jay McGuiness (member of the boy band, The Wanted). These three were joined by a small, but excellent cast of dancers and a live band and lead singers on stage throughout.
The evening was compèred by Leo Green: musician, actor and broadcaster (amongst other things) who has played with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Jools Holland and Eric Clapton, to name just a few of a huge array of stars. Green’s role, as well as playing the saxophone, was to keep the audience entertained with light comedy and amusing tales whilst the dancers had a chance to change outfits and he did this effortlessly in a manner which showed his comfort and ease on stage. These snippets, along with video cuts of old adverts from the era kept things moving smoothly in an evening where there was no dialogue in the show – just dance. In the second half, Green conducted short interviews with the three main dancers, naturally focusing on their time in the hit television show, Strictly Come Dancing.
The music was split into sections such as romantic ballads, songs by renowned crooners, classic pop hits and, of course, rock ‘n’ roll as the evening travelled through the decade. The medley of dances for each spanned swing, bop, jitterbug, lindy hop, jive and ballroom. There were songs by Frank Sinatra, Buddy Holly and so many more of the greats.
My personal favourite dance of the evening was to Nat King Cole’s ‘Unforgettable,’ and was performed by Jay and one of the dance cast (whose name I do wish I had got, as she was my favourite of all the female dancers on the night). It was a beautiful, delicate, touching piece; both dancers in bare feet and seeming to give the impression they were dancing together with no-one else around.
In his ‘interview’ with Green, Louis Smith mentioned that learning a whole show’s worth of dances was one of the hardest projects he had undertaken. Whilst it could be said that it did show he was not as experienced as the professional dancers, he did prove himself to be very good at what he did do, which, naturally, included some outstanding gymnastic style moves.
The evening was great fun and considering that the last ten minutes had the whole audience on their feet, clapping and singing along, I think it is safe to say, everyone had a very good time.