FORMER Britain’s Got Talent Winners, dancing sensation Diversity, took the Lowry Theatre by storm this week, finishing their exclusive tour in Salford. Quays News entertainment reporter Francesca Eagleton went along…

The show opens with a short comical and theatrical section, performed much to the audience’s delight, by Theo McKenzie-Hayton, who has now appeared in three of the dance troupe’s tours.

With his afro and glasses, he is the image of former member, Perri Kiely…well maybe a more pocket-sized version. We were first introduced to the amazing talents on this young dancer, when he first auditioned in front of Diversity. Theo oozes confidence and definitely warmed up the already excited audience for the start of the show.

As a giant screen dominated central stage, displaying a message to press a red button. The tiny dancer worked the audience in true panto-style, making us all demand he hit the buzzer.

We were then transported into the world of Diversity.

With impressive lasers, smoke, lighting effects, fireworks, you name it, it was all happening on the stage. Each individual name of the dance members appeared on the screen, one by one, the crowd got more and more excited.

The crowd uproared as the line-up finished with tour creator and front man, Ashley Banjo – who was obviously a crowd pleaser, as the show hadn’t even started yet and the audience were already up on their feet.

It was clear to see throughout the show that his heart lies on stage. Being at such ease when interacting with the audience.

With a charming manner, his humour, and well who could ignore that body, he is evidently a crowd favourite and a great choice to host the show.

Forming the group with his younger brother and former member Jordan in 2007, Ashley announced at the beginning of the performance that he wanted this tour to pay homage to their routes, giving the audience a chance to get ‘up close and personal’ with them.

Through performing exclusively choreographed routines based on their journey together as a dance troupe, the show journeyed through the early days of first being formed as a group, to winning the third series of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2009.

With the announcement of former troupe member, Terry Smith recently becoming engaged and hoping to have children, Ashley made the joke that he was going to become a ‘dancing dad’.

This quickly turned into various Dads from the audience, being brought up on stage to take part in a very hilarious dance off.

Rapidly ending with one of the Dads, refusing to leave the stage, and instead running around trying to take selfies with the different members of the group; leading the theatres security staff to believe that it was just a regular dad interrupting the show.

Turns out the ‘dad’ was actually Little Tim, who after being informed has been played a big part in Ashley’s childhood growing up, being somewhat of a mentor to him. He was the first person to teach Ashley a piece of choreography.

Alongside the comedy that the troupe never fails to deliver, we also got the chance to see a much more sensitive and emotive side to the group.

With an emotionally charged and fitting duet performed by Ashley and Jordan Banjo as a tribute to their Nan who sadly passed away this year.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as a video played on the screen showing just how much of an impact she had, on not only the two boys, but the whole Diversity family.

We were also treated to performances from Fred Astaire’s 1930’s hit Puttin’ On The Ritz, to Elvis Presley’s You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog, which were amongst only some of the many influences of Diversity.

Who thought that the art of street dance would have such…Diversity.

The show was a visual spectacular from start to finish and was definitely a shock to what I first expected.

By: Francesca Eagleton
@FranEagleton

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