Saturday, 27 March 2021

REVIEW: Remembering the Oscars starring Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manrara

Any fans of BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing” will know that for the last 9 years Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manrara’s are one of the nation’s favourite couples. For nearly a decade now they have been lighting up the screens with their charismatic personalities and unbelievable ballroom dancing skills. When they are not waltzing across the Strictly ballroom in the second half of the year, Aljaž and Janette have been touring the country with special dance shows. Starting with “Remembering Fred Astaire”, followed by “Remembering The Movies”, last year they were geared up to hit the road again with their latest venture “Remembering The Oscars”. Sadly the Covid pandemic struck and the show had to be pulled, a year later and the tour is still unable to go on tour so as a spectacular consolation the highlights of the show have been specially filmed into a joyous hour stream. 

Filmed at both London's Apollo Theatre and The Bournemouth International Centre, Aljaž and Janette pack an incredible amount of choreography and styles into the hour whilst paying homage to many classic films that have either won or been nominated for Academy Awards over the decades. From the black and white era of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in “The Gay Divorcee” to modern musicals such as Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in, “La La Land”. There is fun additional video footage of the pair paying tribute to films such as "Rocky" and "Flashdance". 

Excellently directed and choreographed by Gareth Walker, the proceedings begin as all Oscar Ceremonies do with a red carpet, paparazzi and adoring fans as Aljaž and Janette dazzle in vintage award night fashion. This sets the atmosphere and showbiz tone for what is ahead. The Show begins with an incredible extended opener number that dazzles with classic dances from various eras. From a romantic display of “The Way We Were” to the iconic lift from “Dirty Dancing”. 

The show is lead through by the charismatic vocals of singer, songwriter Janine Johnson and Giovanni Spano, X Factor finalist and star of The West End. Both immerse themselves in the show and add a lot to the performances through both the vocals and choreography. Janine takes us from Elsa in “Frozen” to a powerful medley of “The Lion King”. Giovanni ranges from Gene Kelly singing in the rain to The Genie of Aladdin’s lamp. Also joining Aljaž and Janette are a wonderful group of dancers who add flavour to routines from “Shaft” to “A Chorus Line” and an incredible Disney medley finale. 

Aljaž and Janette narrate the show adding further charm and interaction to the stream. They pay tribute to various Oscar nominees and winners from over the years whilst expressing a disappointment that since the 1930’s a “Best Choreographer” award has been omitted from proceedings. To counteract this, they pay tribute to various legends of dance from over the years. The couple also explain the lengths that the cast and crew have made to produce a show safely in the middle of a pandemic. This is further highlighted in a half an hour behind the scenes documentary that can be purchased as part of the ticket package. A further bonus to be purchased is an hour in-depth interview with television personality and Strictly contestant Richard Arnold. 

The talent and warmth of Aljaž and Janette make this such joyous escapism. More than ever we’re all in need of the glitz and glamour of the Movies and the feeling of being a theatre audience member once more. The stream is a wonderful substitute from seeing the couple live and although nothing can quite compete with the live experience this is as close as you can get plus the added bonus of not being blocked by a tall person blocking your view or someone loudly munching popcorn in the next row. Beautifully shot and edited the magic of the event will capture you into the world of The Oscars. Ultimately the draw is the magic that Aljaž and Janette bring as a couple in love with both dance and with each other. This stream will keep everyone going until fingers crossed they can see the extended show live in 2022. 

Review by Myles Ryan

Rating: ★★★★★

Limited Streaming available until April 17th

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