Thursday, 27 May 2021

REVIEW: Here Come the Boys at the London Palladium

Here Come the Boys is one of the few West End shows that are reopening theatreland, with a two-week slot at the London Palladium to see the lights of the theatre on and to feel the buzz around the theatre once again it was exciting and very much needed. 

The show was meant to open in January at the Garrick Theatre before hitting the road but the pandemic has put a stop to that. Pushing their opening back to 2022, a window popped up at Londons most famous theatre and they’ve moved in to push through the opening of the West End. 

Starring Aljaž Škorjanec, Graziano di Prima, Karim Zeroual, Nadiya Bychkova, Pasha Kovavlev and Robin Windsor alongside dancers Ash-Leigh Hunter, Giada Lini, George Michaelides, Grace Cinque-White and Mick Scott, the show is directed and choreographed by Gareth Walker. 

I was incredibly disappointed to see the lack of diversity in the casting, in 2021 there really isn’t any excuse. As an industry, we’ve been trying to move forward with inclusivity but this casting takes us back and reminds us there's still a lot of work to do. 

The first act was disjointed and messy, the opening number was meant to be sensational but instead, it was all over the place. When you have a group of professional dancers on stage doing the same choreography you want to see it be slick, stylish, polished and in sync but instead, we saw everybody doing different versions of the same moves and certainly not in unison which lead to a very untidy and overwhelmingly busy stage. 

The show really gets going in the second act; the opening, in what I believe is the After Hours section (the running order in the programme provided is not correct), was absolutely stunning. The choice of music along with the choreography felt smooth and slick. This is the section where the show really came alive. It was filled with character and showed the dancers as individuals which were absolutely delightful to see. Another section that stood out was the ‘Lets Swing’, again some great song choices and we must champion Nadiya Bychkova who, without stopping, danced in 6 numbers right after each other. 

The absolute stand out of the evening George Michaelides, at just 17 years old he was by far one of the best dancers on that stage. He really came alive in the encore number as well, more of a contemporary style but in a routine dedicated to the front line workers, he was front and centre, and rightly so. Michaelides is someone to look out for in the future, a stunning and versatile dancer who I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of. Giada Lini came in as a close second as the stand out of the evening, a gorgeous dancer who knows how to work a stage. 

The show featured Bass6, a beatboxer who acted as the host. He gave us an opening speech, which didn’t involve a mention about keeping masks on during the show hence why so many people just took them off, and throughout provided some beatboxing and the odd bit of comparing alongside Karim Zeroual. Although he is a very talented guy, it was not needed. I suppose it was an attempt to break up the evening of dance but to be honest, it came across cringey. 

After over a year without theatre, this show just falls flat. With no real band or singers, we don’t get that atmosphere we have been craving from live theatre. In a cheap-looking and self-indulgent production, the show needs polishing and whilst there were some wonderful moments there were a lot of times it didn’t give us what we expected from a group of world champion dancers. 

Review by Mark Swale 

Rating: ★★

Seat: M35, Stalls | Price of Ticket: £73

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