Back in May, it was announced that former Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Natalie Lowe and two of the show’s celebrity champions, Jay McGuiness and Louis Smith, would be teaming up for a 50’s inspired dance show called Rip It Up. Last night (October 9), the show arrived at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall. Promising a night of rip roaring routines to some of the most iconic songs from the era, we made our way to Cardiff to check out the action for ourselves.
From the opening number, it was evident that we were in for a real treat. The cast of dancers and the accompanying band brought the stage to life within seconds, taking us right back to the 50’s in an instant. Helped along by themed visuals, including kooky adverts from the era throughout the show, we were taken on a musical journey covering some of the greats including Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly.
Leading the pack was Natalie Lowe, best known for her seven year stint as a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing. Having had a large hand in putting the show together, it was clear to see how much Natalie lives and breathes dance. Throwing her all into every routine she featured in, you could see her passion and emotion throughout, proving why she is one of the best dancers in the world. During her time on Strictly, we felt she was often held back by some of her partners. However, with an incredible cast on hand, Rip It Up truly allows Natalie to shine. Her standout moment was her breathtaking dance with Curtis Pritchard to ‘Unchained Melody’. She was completely overcome with emotion and we couldn’t fault her for it.
Louis Smith and Jay McGuiness were also star attractions, having won Strictly Come Dancing in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Best known for being an Olympic gymnast, Louis successfully intertwined some of his tricks and flips into his beautiful dancing. He showed off his fancy footwork throughout numerous routines, with one of the highlights being his performance of ‘Fever’ with three of the female dancers. He even gave an impromptu Michael Jackson impersonation, after revealing that he was his musical inspiration growing up. There’s no doubt that Louis stood tall amongst the professional dancers, and we hope he will continue to dance in years to come.
Jay, on the other hand, not only wowed us with his dancing skills, but blew us away with his vocals too. Best known for being one fifth of boyband The Wanted, it’s fantastic to see how Jay has grown as a performer over the years, whilst remaining completely humble. During Strictly, Jay became synonymous with his wondrous jive, and whilst we got to see that side of him during the evening, his standout performance was a simply spellbinding contemporary routine to ‘Unforgettable’ alongside Charlie Bruce. He also bowled us over with his vocal performances of ‘Sway’ and ‘Beyond The Sea’, the latter proving that Jay is an exquisite singer and dancer. Jay is so graceful as a performer, we could genuinely watch him all day.
The trio were joined by six professional dancers: Charlie Bruce, Curtis Pritchard, Emily Barker, Michael Johnson, Sallyrose Beardall and dance captain Scott Coldwell. All six were absolutely superb, each proving why they’re some of the hottest talent in the business. In addition to some incredible moves, they had a great chemistry which really raised the energy in the theatre. Whilst each dancer brought something unique to the show, we must point out Charlie who simply blew our minds during two contemporary dances – the way she moved her body was extraordinary.
Alongside the dancers were a group of hugely talented musicians who formed the Rip It Up All-Stars band. They were joined by two incredible singers, Oliver Darling and Jill Marie Cooper, who helped bring the songs to life. We must give a special mention to Jill, who is a vocal powerhouse. Her range is sensational and with each song, we were left wondering just where her phenomenal vocals would take us.
We cannot forget the man who kept the evening flowing perfectly – the marvellous Musical Director Leo Green. In addition to playing the saxophone, he kept the crowd entertained as the evening’s compere. Not only did he help us on our journey through the 50’s, but he also kept the audience updated with the evening’s football scores! By the end of the show, he had everyone on their feet with a rousing performance. There’s no doubt that he’s a natural entertainer, and kept the show’s magic alive during the numerous costume changes.
With almost 50 routines and musical numbers during the show, the fact that the whole Rip It Up crew were so energetic throughout is astonishing. The costumes were great, the production was super slick, and the routines were both eye-catching and breathtaking. The entire cast provided a night of world class entertainment which truly paid homage to the incredible era of the 50’s.
Don’t believe us? Check out the official Rip It Up trailer below.
There are ten shows of Rip It Up left, so make sure you grab a ticket and witness the magic for yourselves. Details about the remaining dates and tickets are available here.
Have you been to see Rip It Up? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix