Strictly Come Dancing Judge Craig Revel Horwood is bringing his ‘All Balls and Glitter’ tour to The Cresset in Peterborough on March 25. ESP’s Sarah Tempest caught up with him to talk touring, Strictly and moving to the Greater Peterborough area...
All Balls and Glitter sounds like it’s going to be fun! What can we expect from the show?
“I wanted to do something really different with the show and tell the story about my journey from when I was growing up in Australia, how I got into dance and all my hopes, dreams and aspirations," Craig explains. "It encompasses all the music shaped my life so I'll be doing quite a bit of singing, I'll be telling some stories and I'll be doing a bit of dancing. I know this sounds weird by myself but I'm going to attempt it darling! At age 57!
“Act One is about my journey to the UK and all the musicals I did when I was in Australia and here, like Cats, Miss Saigon and Crazy For You. It wasn’t until I became a choreographer/director that I won the part on Strictly Come Dancing which, of course, reshaped my life again so Act Two is about that journey.
“I’m selling it really like Desert Island Discs that I sing myself,” he laughs “I didn’t just want to sit there with a slideshow and say ‘this is me growing up’ I wanted to act it out and play and have fun with the audience and to give them an evening that they can remember. And it's going to be a little trip down memory lane for me as well which is great!”
“I love touring, I've done it all my life as a dancer I did Westside Story in Melbourne then I ended up touring Australia extensively, I became a real dance gypsy in that way. I loved touring the UK because the theatres here are so gorgeous.
“[Doing a tour] has been on a bucket list for a long time. So I thought ‘Oh actually, I’m going to start my bucket list now’. I thought ‘I'll do a Christmas single’ so I’ve done that. During lockdown I recorded a duets album with my friend Rietta which is in the process of being released.
“A producer said to me ‘we should do a little show together of you talking’ and I thought ‘I want to do more than that actually’ so I have put a lot of pressure on myself in the show. But I think I prefer that, to entertain people and give them an insight into what I actually do for a living rather than just be sat at a judges desk and raise paddles from 1-4! I just want people to see that there’s more to me than that, to see the funny side of me and to see me smiling for a change!”
We’ve already had a glimpse of that side of you, dressed as Knickerbocker Glory on The Masked Dancer!
“Well, yeah there was that!” he laughs. “I set myself a few challenges in lockdown and of course theatre was non-existent two years ago. We were going to do the show [back then] but that was postponed for a year, then had to be postponed again. So finally now we can go out and meet people and give them a show that they will remember.”
It’s a punishing schedule for the tour with 40 dates in two months, but Craig has his ways of keeping his stamina up.
“I think generally I have to treat it like I'm doing panto because that’s two shows a day and that's six days a week and normally I work seven days a week. However moving to a new city each day is a whole new experience for me, so it's going to be major. So it’s a lot of Berocca and a lot of sleep in the car on the way to the next venue!”
And a cheeky Ginsters at the services on the motorway?
“Oooh I do love a Cornish paaaaasty darling!” he laughs
With such a full on touring schedule, Craig is very much looking forward to coming to Peterborough, which will now be his home gig having recently moved to the area.
“I wish I could do a whole week there, darling, that would be nice! I haven’t actually been to The Cresset theatre so I’m really looking forward to seeing it. We start [the tour] in Cheltenham and then my second night is in Peterborough. I don’t particularly know Peterborough very well yet. I moved into the area at the end of October and then I went out on tour with Strictly so I haven't really had a lot of time at home so I'm looking forward to checking it out when I’m there and planning what I’m going to do over the summer in the area. Because there’s plenty to do isn’t there?
“I love Stamford, that’s beautiful and I love all the Collyweston tiles. I love the stone, I love all the typical English countryside, its so gorgeous. I’m very lucky because I live on a little lake and a bit of a river and it’s in a lovely small village too. Peterborough is only 20 minutes away and Stamford is only 6 miles away. Loads of places [to visit] and there are so many great restaurants in the area too.”
Since moving to the area, Craig has become patron of the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust and its clear his charity work means a lot to him.
“I think it's a really good thing to be supporting, I know we're raffling off a few tickets for the show and things like that and I’m planning to do a Strictly style competition with all the nurses and things like that which I think will be amazing. Because of Covid, I haven't had a chance to walk around the wards and all of that yet but that will come about soon. I think it's really important to give back to the community.”
Once the tour wraps up though, there won’t be too much time for relaxing in his new home before it’s time for the new season of Strictly. And when asked who his dream celebrity contestant would be, there’s no hesitation at all!
“I would say Simon Cowell. I think he would be fantastic, can you imagine?! It would be just hilarious seeing him trying to rumba, just thinking about it is so good! Plus he is a really good personality, I think we’d see a lighter side of him. We could have a real proper slanging match, that would be fun!
“You know the beauty about the show is it’s about people’s experience and journey through it, I love the fact that the show allows for the audience to decide who should win. It's not about being the best dancer it's about people’s commitment and who people like and I think that's important because there are people like Ann Widdicombe who went to week 11 for goodness sake and couldn’t dance at all! But she still waved the flag for the non dance community who were trying and that’s what was fun about it. And John Sergeant of course who thought he was going to win.”
Isn’t it part of the British psyche to support the underdog?
“Yes of course and I think that's why it continues to be a favourite with the audiences not only here in this country but obviously countries worldwide. It holds records as the most produced format in the world and when you consider that we started in the May of 2004 and we’re still going, it says something about what people want.”
The pairing of John and Johannes was a real triumph last year and really seemed to take the art of dance back to its roots.
“Yes, it’s so true. The Argentine tango was originally danced by men until women got in on the act. That was mainly due to prostitutes, they used that dance to steal wallets from the back pockets of men.”
“Yeah it's pretty amazing isn't it? They danced around those little tables, that’s why it’s a more on the spot dance but it was originally danced by men. It was such a good year last year. I thought Rose was absolutely spectacular in the show, really gorgeous and a real deserved winner. I think it’s the diversity that makes [the show]. It’s a community show and I think that's what's good, giving all sorts of people from all different walks of life the opportunity to be represented. I think it's the most important thing.”
You can hear Craig’s story first hand at his All Balls and Glitter show at The Cresset on Friday March 25. Tickets are £25.50 or there are meet and Greet packages available.
Visit www.cresset.co.uk or call 01733 265705.