BWW INTERVIEWS: Anton Du Beke
Isn't it marvellous? I am really excited - Erin as well - because the premise of the show when we started it was to do "An Evening With..." - an intimate evening with Erin and me, doing what we do, proper dancing with a wonderful orchestra. We wanted to make it lush, and for people to sit there and say, "Isn't it lovely?" Wonderful music, a 30-piece orchestra, Erin and me dancing, a bit of chat, just that sort of stuff. And now we've ended up at the Coliseum! It'll be slightly more tricky to retain intimacy. It does give us the opportunity to swing out and dance properly. We've toured the show around the country, and it's been successful - well, people clap and the houses are full, so I presume that's successful. It's whether they ask you back - that's how I gauge my success. In those venues, it's been marvellous, but the stage has been a bit small. Here, we won't have that problem.
What can we expect from your show, then?
Me in a tailsuit. "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I have a tailsuit." That's it, really! No, it's going to be us doing what we do. We'll be dancing. It'll be familiar tunes, wonderful music, a lovely singer, Chris Marques and Jaclyn Spencer. It's been very well-received, and the audiences have been great. I don't know if the London audience will be any different, or more difficult to please. The people who come to the show are fans of Strictly, or of ballroom dancing, and it's nice inasmuch as you get something a bit different. I like the intimacy; I like that we chat. In the second half we do a Q&A, which is fun.
Do you get the same questions coming up?
You do. You get lots of the same questions. It's lovely, though. People are really into it - where do you get your outfits from, who's your ideal partner, what colour is your underwear? I hope it works here. It's worked in the other venues - we've done the Symphony Hall in Birmingham, the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, the Sage in Gateshead, the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, the Pavilion down in Plymouth, the De Montfort in Leicester, Fairfield Halls in Croydon, even! Just all over the place.
How did it transmogrify from something on a relatively small scale to this Coliseum show?
We were guests for the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and during their show they had a section of swing and a big band section - they thought it'd be quite nice if they got a well-known dancing couple to come along. We were talking about it, and it was selling all right, and suddenly when we got attached to it, it sold out. I don't mean to say that we're marvellous box office, but it shows the appeal of Strictly - it could have been any of us, it could have been Darren and Lilia [Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova], or Ian and Camilla [Ian Waite and Camilla Dallerup]. So as soon as the promoters heard about this, the bulbs went off in their heads, and we got a tour. We've got a 30-piece orchestra, we've got a singer, Richard Shelton, and Chris and Jaclyn who'll do some Latin numbers, and we do a couple of ensemble pieces, all four of us. It's nice.
And now you're part of the Spring Dance season here at the Coliseum.
That was added on at the end. The tour sold out, and it's an opportunity to do something different.
Have you had chance to see any of the other shows?
I haven't - we've been busy with the tour. I'd like to have seen all of them, really.
I saw Swan Lake here a few weeks ago.
And how was that?
I liked it - I'm not an expert on ballet, but it was so pretty!
But that's all you need to know. Did it look nice? Then that's all you need to know. Anyone who tells you that you need to know more than that needs a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. There is nothing more to it. You don't need to know the ins and outs. You just need to know if it moves you. Did I feel anything? Did I have a nice time? Did I hate it? There's really no more to it than that. If you had a brilliantly moving experience and you sobbed all the way through because it was so tear-jerkingly wonderful, even better. If you didn't, it's OK. I get grumpy with people who make it more than it is. Dance, art, whatever you want to call it, is what it is. It's something going on in front of you that you watch, and either enjoy or you don't. You don't have to define it.
When you dance with celebrities on Strictly, you do seem as if you think the important thing is for them to enjoy what they're doing and try their best.