Review | Giovanni Pernice - Made in Italy at The Kings Theatre, Portsmouth: 'A thoroughly entertaining evening'

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Strictly Come Dancing fans are spoilt for choice, currently, as many of the professionals, now celebrities in their own right, are touring individually all over the UK.

This is the latest offering from fan-favourite, Giovanni Pernice.

Made in Italy is a tribute to his native country, or is it? The Italian hunk jokingly told the King’s Theatre that it’s merely a stage name; he’s really ‘Dave from Pompey.’

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Gio, a dancer on the hit BBC show since 2015, has amassed quite the following if the packed venue is anything to go by. It’s somewhat unsurprising, he’s clearly a showman. The crowd lapped up his cheeky charm with his comedic monologues from start to finish.

Giovanni PerniceGiovanni Pernice
Giovanni Pernice

The tracks in the first half were largely unfamiliar to me but the dancing was great. One amusing segment saw a male audience member enjoy a dance from Gio, performing in drag to You Can Leave Your Hat On. The final act before the break was a sexy Ferrari-themed dance, complete with chequered flags, car parts and grid girls, before switching to a full-throttle, and frankly brilliant, rousing ensemble number, Greased Lightnin’.

The second half was even better than the first. The fashion segment (Legs) was stylish and slick, whilst Mambo Italiano was a real crowd pleaser.

Lead Dancer, Lauren Oakley, is simply mesmerising. Stealing my gaze every time she’s on stage, I had to remind myself to watch the others! She made the Strictly professional line-up for the first time last year but did not receive a celebrity partner. Based on this performance, that needs to change, and when Gio says this during their delightful chat, the Southsea crowd agreed (though he amusingly requested she receives someone bad!)

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The singers were fantastic throughout, with notable highlights including I’ll Never Love Again and Nessun Dorma. However, I was completely blown away by Conor Mellor’s rendition of Writing’s on the Wall, the James Bond soundtrack by Sam Smith. Gio cheekily staked his claim to be the next 007 – looking dapper in a tux, it was a popular proposal with his adoring fans.

The audience were on their feet for the finale, which culminated with the main man ripping his shirt off and whipping them into a frenzy.

A thoroughly entertaining evening, as Giovanni would say: ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’

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