Giovanni Pernice – Born to Win Review Lyric Theatre

We attended the Gala night in London of Born to Win. The latest show from Pro dancer and Strictly Come Dancing star, Giovanni Pernice.

Having already toured with his debut show which gained positive reviews with ‘Dance is Life’ he came back with the current tour Born to Win.

We have seen a trend of Strictly Stars take to the stage and display their magical dance technique with Aljaz Skorjanec starring in Remembering Fred, Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone dueting in various shows together such as Midnight Tango, Dance till Dawn and the Last Tango, to the enigmatic Brendan Cole touring in All Night Long and Natalie Lowe in Rip it up  – So was this to be any different? Well yes it was!

It was a story following Giovanni’s journey from birth to appearing on Strictly Come Dancing. Commentated throughout by himself Giovanni brought us humour and dance in bundles. If he wasn’t a pro dancer I’m sure there would be an opening in comedy for him.

Giovanni was joined by seven more world-class professional dancers from Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars Ireland. The show is produced once more by Strictly Theatre Co and Directed and Choreographed by Strictly Come Dancings creative director Jason Gilkison.

Starting off with ‘Aint that a kick in the head’ and ‘Aint no other man’ the show started.We had these four pairs of dancers show off their moves and fancy footwork. Then introductions to the dancers themselves whilst ‘Dr Bones’ played.

The first interval had Giovanni telling the story how his mother and father met, to the creation of the man himself. Giovanni spoke to us in a calm and relaxed nature, at ease with the audience. Onto his naughty fourteen-year-old self as a teenager, with not many other interests except girls. His costume for this part well planned and had me thinking he was re-enacting ‘Kevin and Perry’.  We learned of his attempts at winning a date only to fail. Then his genius idea of learning to dance, as that was a way of getting up close and personal with a girl – onto winning the heart of his first love Maria whom then went travelling with him. His continued journey in travel, life and experiences brought him via France and then stopping in Spain to show us numerous influences on him, including an intense Paso Doble of course!

The second interval came and this half featured his time in his so-called  ‘hometown’ of London. Stating his love for theatre and dancing as a performer he was drawn to the West End and so told of his favourite show being Chicago of which we then had two of the shows biggest hits ‘All that Jazz’ and ‘Cell block tango’. The night took a more west end vibe and we had a medley of Jersey Boys, and passionate dance with ‘One night only’ to the upbeat showing of ‘Can’t stop the beat’. Giovanni told of his audition process for Strictly and his favourite group dance performing the Jive.

Then a great surprise for the audience   – D.E.B.B.I.E , DEBBIE!

Yes, Debbie McGee appeared on stage – his dance partner from the last series of Strictly Come Dancing. Debbie showed us in person the amazing talent she has for dance that we all saw through our television screens for weeks. Giovanni being his cheeky self, told how Debbies favourite part of practice was the lift. But you’ll have to see the remaining shows to find out why!

This was a well-produced show and different from the other types that have been on sale from his other pro dancing colleagues, Giovanni celebrated his journey, gave the audience laughs throughout, happy to use himself as the butt of the joke at times, and genuinely appeared down to earth.

Of course, the show also wouldn’t be anything without the skill and craft of the dancers with routines to dances like the Paso Doble, the Argentine Tango, the Rumba, the Viennese Waltz, and the previously mentioned Jive. Footwork executed to perfection, Lifts and Twirls carried out, Extended legs and bare chests, the show had it all. This show certainly won me over, and definitely, see why Giovanni Pernice is Born To Win!



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