Friday, July 1

Here Come The Boys – London Palladium

After more than a year starved of live theatre, it is not surprising that the socially distanced and masked audience for Here Come The Boys is champing at the bit, wildly enthusiastic, and totally up for an evening of sparkling entertainment. And they certainly get that in this show. Here Come The Boys toured to sold-out theatres in 2019 and the performers are clearly as keen to get back into the swing as the audience.  The four lead dancers, calling themselves the “Kings of Dance”, are Strictly stars present and past Aljaž Škorjanec, Pasha Kovalev, Graziano di Prima and Robin Windsor.  They are joined by Nadiya Bychkova representing the ladies, Strictly finalist Karim Zeroual as dancer and MC, and a large dance ensemble.

The vibe of the show is Strictly on steroids, a dance party to blow away the lockdown blues, against a club backdrop of throbbing sounds and flashing lights.  The skill and artistry of the dancers, their energy and connection with the audience are immaculate and they are simply a joy to watch. Their love of dance flows over the audience, who return that love in spades with whoops and standing ovations. 

It’s a bold choice to embrace such an eclectic range of styles of music and dance in one show, from crowd-pleasing ballroom and latin numbers to the down-with-the-kids Tik Tok mash-up of street and contemporary danced to a throbbing hip-hop beat that can be felt as much as heard. Some of these sequences work better than others though. The “new take” on 1940s/50s swing promised much, with an introductory video showing the guys in 1940s military uniforms suggesting an homage to the era, but the routine becomes somewhat musically and choreographically confused, ending with lindy hop danced to yet another pulsating and frenetic beat. There’s also a beat-boxing element to the show that feels tacked on. It’s an interesting idea to try to introduce that skill to a new audience but seems out of place here.


Photos by Fiona Whyte for The TCB Group

The set features a simple geometric framework of various levels, surrounding a huge video screen.  Its minimalist design is the perfect background for the performances, the screen content well-chosen to enhance the narrative themes of the dances.

The peak points of the show undoubtedly come when the “Kings of Dance” demonstrate their skills in the ballroom and latin styles that are their USP. A sort-of competition between the four leads gives them the opportunity to showcase their talents individually and they also have solo spots with contemporary routines that are balletic and athletic in equal measure, the choreography by Gareth Walker modern but timeless.  As the “Queen of Dance”, Nadiya also deserves a special mention for her superb performance throughout the show across all the genres of dance. 

Overall, Here Comes The Boys is a joyous evening of fun and wonderful dancing, the perfect “welcome back” to live performance.  Kudos also to the Palladium and all their staff for making the show possible after the immense challenges of the past year.  

Playing until 9th June 2021, full details and tickets can be found at https://lwtheatres.co.uk/

Reviewer: Carole Gordon

Reviewed: 26th May 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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