HomeEntertainmentReview: Giovanni Pernice's Made In Italy, at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury

Review: Giovanni Pernice’s Made In Italy, at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury


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Giovanni Pernice dancing with fellow Strictly professional Lauren Oakley.

The Sicilian heart-throb blended easy going charm with lots of humour and, of course, dynamic dance routines as he led a cast of ten in his latest show, Made In Italy, staged at Theatre Severn on Saturday, before repeat performances twice on Sunday.

Gio delights in sending up his own affected image as a boastful egotist but was not joking when he praised his very capable ensemble of dancers and singers, who helped earn the 2021 Glitterball champion a standing ovation at the sold-out riverside venue.

His regular leading lady, the hugely talented Birmingham dancer Lauren Oakley, was given special status this time, having joined the Strictly professionals. They had an on-stage chat about the Strictly experience. Gio teased her that if she gets a partner in this year’s season he hopes they will not be too good, whilst Lauren wondered out loud if he is concerned about her as competition.

Perhaps Gio’s Italy as represented in the two-hour show was a little stereotypical, right from the moment he arrived on stage by scooter, but it would be churlish not to be swept along with the show’s congenial atmosphere. That began as soon as audience members entered the auditorium to be greeted by dancers posing as residents of a rustic Italian town, a locale suggested by the effective stage set.

The music was recorded but the singing was live and impressive. Even Gio showed that he could deliver a tune, although he was wise to have the support of more seasoned vocalists as part of a trio for the crowd pleaser Nessun Dorma.

And there were plenty of laughs, right from the moment the star hoofer suggested that his name and nationality was all a sham, and that he was actually ‘Dave from Shoesaberry’. He also surprised Antony, who was plucked from the audience to be ‘treated’ to a dance from Gio in drag, flashing his garter and tottering around the stage in high heels.

But its the fancy footwork that matters most and Made In Italy did not disappoint from the exuberant opening number Another Day Of Sun onwards.

Other delightful dance highlights included a dramatic tango by Gio and Lauren, a rollicking Lindy Hop number set in a pizzeria, the high-energy Greased Lightning, and Gio’s emotional all-male duet with fellow Italian, the impressive Pasquale La Rocca.

Made In Italy was ‘tutto bene’ and as Gio said ‘ciao’ he also revealed that he aims to be back in Shrewsbury next year which another new show.

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