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REVIEW: Extraordinary Oti Mabuse had delighted fans dancing at the Music Hall

oti mabuse aberdeen
Oti Mabuse performing during her I Am Here tour which thrilled fans at the Music Hall in Aberdeen.

Just like the daffodils, the professionals from BBC’s  Strictly Come Dancing spring up around the country at this time of year with their own stage shows.

We have had a bumper crop this season in Aberdeen, with the likes of Anton, Erin, Aljaz, Janette, and Giovanni all gliding into town.

Last night it was the turn of two-time Strictly winner Oti Mabuse who brought her I Am Here solo tour to the Music Hall.

There may be a cost of living crisis going on, but it was a Friday night full house in Aberdeen. Looking around the Music Hall it was striking that the “new normal” looked remarkably similar to the old one, with the stalls full and barely a face mask in sight.

oti mabuse aberdeen
Strictly champion Oti Mabuse put on a tremendous show at the Music Hall in Aberdeen.

While the setting was as expected, what we saw on the stage was extraordinary.

Celebration of strong women who have helped Oti Mabuse

Billed breathlessly in the programme as “a whirlwind celebration of the influences and inspirations that took Oti on a journey” the show didn’t disappoint.

Dance shows are of course defined by the music, and I Am Here (a direct translation of Oti’s name) leans on the tried and tested format of show tunes, mixed with pop classics.

A key theme was a celebration of strong women, particularly those who have helped Oti rise from a tough upbringing in South Africa to become one of the highest-profile celebs on UK TV.

Classic show tunes and pop favourites were in the mix for Oti Mabuse’s show at the Music Hall.

There were some moving words about her mother and sisters and she was joined by her husband Marius Lepure for a waltz, all of which helped to set the context of Oti’s extraordinary rise to the top of her profession.

The Music Hall audience were also treated to a surprise guest performance from Livingston teenager Ellie Fergusson who won the BBC’s Greatest Dancer show, mentored by Mabuse.

I Am Here created tremendous spectacle in the Music Hall

In these days of rising costs it’s tempting for shows to use backing tracks and modest sets, so credit to the I Am Here production team for creating a tremendous spectacle.

I Am Here with Oti Mabuse created a spectacular show in the Music Hall.

Stunning costumes and video projections helped Oti to deliver a powerhouse performance, supported by 10 dancers, a four-piece band and vocalists Nik Vani and Natalia Brown, whose credits include stints in The Lion King and Hairspray.

It was a fast-paced show, at times a little hectic, but this allowed Mabuse to demonstrate just what an elite dancer can do.

She was a blur as she danced the Jive, Samba and the South African Kwaito, but it was the more reflective, introspective moments that really cut through.

Oti Mabuse had the Music Hall audience on their feet at the end

The show had a typical medley of movie classics from Singing In The Rain to West Side Story which worked well, but it was the recurring theme of Oti Mabuse’s homeland that lifted the evening, elevating the show from others on the circuit.

Oti Mabuse paid tribute to her homeland and to the strong women who shaped her career.

Toto’s evergreen Africa anthem, along with Waka Waka by Shakira supplied a rhythmic feast, and an audience dance lesson saw even the typically shy Aberdeen audience on their feet (almost in time) at the end.

Pro dancers are renowned for their stamina, but being on this high energy tour until mid-July, Oti Mabuse and her crew will certainly need the early nights.


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