Brendan enjoys Licence To Thrill

Aliona Vilani
Aliona Vilani

Licence To Thrill

Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, January 16

by Joanne Smith

Having thrilled audiences with his performance on Strictly Come Dancing Brendan Cole brings more magic to the stage with his show ‘Licence To Thrill’.

Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre hosts the first performance of a 48-date tour on Thursday, January 16, and audiences can expect plenty of music and dance entertainment with waltzes, jive, tangos and more.

The Herald caught up with the 37-year-old ahead of the show’s opening night.

He said, “I’m very excited, there’s always a few nerves when starting out on the tour but I did the same tour last year and am really keen to get back on the road.

“Preparing for the show is ‘extremely full-on’ and tends to take over your life. Eastbourne’s a pretty good venue to start and a pretty big one.”

The New Zealand born dancer has been busy preparing alongside his phenomenal cast of 14 musicians and six world-class dancers.

He will be joined by fellow Strictly Come Dancing professional Aliona Vilani who has stepped into the leading lady shoes after French Dancing with Stars champion Fauve Hautot pulled out having injured cruciate ligaments in her knee.

“I’m sad to lose Fauve, she was sensational, but to have someone of Aliona’s calibre to fill that role is great for us.”

There are some changes to this year’s show including a few tweaks to some of the music, said Brendon, adding, “The thing I’m really proud of is how diverse the show is, it’s not all one genre of music and dances. There’s something for everybody.”

The band is lead by musical director Barry Robinson and includes the brilliant vocalists Ian Mackenzie and Julie Maguire and some of the Britain’s best musicians.

There is a small nod to James Bond with the music with Gladys Knight’s Licence to Kill and a dance-off between the males in Live and Let Die.

Brendan’s brother Scott - a dancer in Brendan’s debut theatre tour ‘Live and Unjudged’ – features and brings a ‘unique edge’ to Licence to Thrill.

With the tour and 11 series of Strictly Come Dancing under his belt, what’s next? Brendon said he would continue on Strictly for as long as he is happy to and the show is happy for him to appear.

He added, “You’re not invited every year as such but wait and see if they call. I love doing the show. I had a fantastic series this year, Sophie (Ellis-Bextor) was the most perfect partner I could ask for.”

So what has made Strictly so popular? Brendan responded, “Strictly has got this lovely, fantastic magic about it, it appeals to all ages. Every generation can enjoy Strictly.”