Anton & Giovanni Together is a highly recommended, exhilarating, entertaining show

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Anton & Giovanni Together – The Live Tour: Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, 23.6.2024. (JPr)

Dancers – Anton Du Beke, Giovanni Pernice and Lauren Oakley (special guest) with Grace Cinque-White, Michelle Andrews (lead vocals), Katie Ella Dunsden, David Winters and William Bozier

Backed by Alex Turney (lead vocals, piano), Jacob Booth (drums), Simon Crick (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Danny Grant (guitar and double bass)

Creative director and Choreographer – Adam Burkitt
Musical supervisor and arranger – Alex Turney
Costume design – Jordan Graff
Lighting design – José Lorenzo
Sound engineer – DBS

In the glossy souvenir programme Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice – who have been touring as Him & Me for three seasons (as well as in their own separate shows) – answer the question ‘What’s going to be different for this show?’ Their answer is the reason why this is such a highly recommended, exhilarating, entertaining show; even if like me you are beginning to lose count of how many like this you have seen. Anton says: Firstly, we are delighted to have a live band! As you know I love live music, so the fact we have live musicians on stage with us is simply brilliant. Giovanni replies: ‘I had live musicians on my tour for the first time this year [review here] … and I know Anton has always had live musicians too [review here]. I have to admit, when you dance to music that is live, it’s the best feeling’ to which Anton adds: ‘It just hits you differently and gives you the extra spring in your step.’

So, the Anton and Giovanni ‘bromance’ that has already seen them tour those three previous times and has seen them film two series of Adventures for the BBC to Sicily and Spain continues with Together (with Together Again already announced for 2025). I don’t intend to revisit the well-publicised issues Giovanni has had with BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing which he has now left (perhaps earlier than he wanted to with his own solo tour in 2025 being titled The Last Dance). It was revealing that there was only one mention of SCD during this new show and that was from the very talented dancer – and singer – Lauren Oakley who is rightfully proud of being due back soon for her third season, adding how she ‘first watched Anton Du Beke on Strictly when she was 13’.

Jordan Graff’s costumes for Together gives you all the glitter, glitz, glamour, sparkle and sequins you expect, and then some. Then there are some silly ones, and the sight of Anton in his Eurovision getup is not easily forgotten; lederhosen (for Germany and Switzerland), long white socks (for The Netherlands), shiny shoes (for the UK), ‘budgie smuggler’ (thankfully unseen for Australia) and shiny sequinned shirt (for himself). There was also the Union Jack briefs he revealed during Buck’s Fizz’s Making Your Mind Up.

The whole show was great but this whistle-stop tour through some of Eurovision’s greatest hits after the interval raised the roof of Southend’s Cliffs Pavilion (as did ‘Welcome to the ‘50s’ in the first half and the disco section with closed the show). Giovanni introduced it by saying ‘I’ve learned you get obsessed with things’ to which an audience member shouted out ‘With you!’ to much laughter. We heard, amongst others, snippets of Lulu’s Boom Bang-a-Bang, Sandie Shaw’s Puppet On A String (with Anton getting wound up!), William Bozier danced a splendid solo to Sam Ryder’s Spaceman and Giovanni and his partner Lauren danced a sultry Argentine-type tango to Conchita Wurst’s Rise Like a Phoenix wonderfully sung by Michelle Andrews. Elsewhere much fun was had by all in some colourful costumes and high-energy choreography.

To be honest it was the super-talented four-piece (with the help of those singing) who often created a big band sound to support the ‘50s, Eurovision, disco songs and more and shared the success of Together with Anton, Giovanni and the rest of the company. Giovanni (who does a mean Elvis impression) said ‘We are going to talk about the ‘50s’ dedicating it – tongue in cheek – to Anton. It began with C’mon Everybody, and other Elvis songs we heard included Heartbreak Hotel, I Can’t Help Falling in Love (to which Anton and his partner, the vivacious Grace Cinque-White, did an exquisite slow dance, and it ended with a rampant Blue Suede Shoes and Jailhouse Rock. The handclapping disco finale got everyone to their feet – young, old and very old in the audience – as all-concerned at the end of a very busy show smiled their way through Earth, Wind and Fire’s September, and other familiar disco anthems such as Enough is Enough, Boogie Wonderland, and ending with Disco Inferno.

When videoing themselves and the audience for social media, Anton said it was ‘very important the social media’ and, realising how the age of those in the Cliffs Pavilion was skewed towards the elderly, he added how he was ‘talking to the wrong room here … go find a young person.’

Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice

The bonhomie between Anton and Giovanni seemed genuine and there was much mild innuendo and laughs at the expense of Giovanni’s occasionally mangling the English language – think Chico Marx, which ages me! – such as when he said he was so obsessed with Anton that ‘I’m your Baby Brenda’ well that’s what his ‘Baby Reindeer’ sounded like! There was laughs at the expense of ‘Souffend’ called initially ‘one of the most beautifully places in the world’ (?), that they also had another show to do after this matinee and about the show itself with Anton saying at one point ‘Does it scream midlife crisis?’

Always above and beyond any cheesy repartee was the excellent music and superb dancing from the entire Together company with too many highlights to mention them all: there was Anton and Giovanni’s opening Together (Wherever We Go) from Gypsy (which needs to be seen to be believed); the fun section after they reminisced about their travels in Spain and the visit to Fort Bravo – where Spaghetti Westerns were made – which now featured the effervescent Lauren singing and dancing up a storm through Show Off from the musical The Drowsy Chaperone (which I have actually seen) and ended with a riotous hoedown to Beyoncé’s Texas Hold’em.

All in all, it was so great to be together once more with Anton and Giovanni in Together! Do see it if you can.

Jim Pritchard

2 thoughts on “<i>Anton & Giovanni Together</i> is a highly recommended, exhilarating, entertaining show”

  1. A fabulous show loved it all, musicians, dancers singers. All were incredible. And of course Anton and Giovanni. Such fun and laughter.


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