“ Performers: Diversity dance troupe / Location: United Kingdom tour „
Diversity are a street dance group who beat Susan Boyle in the final of tv show 'Britain's Got Talent' in 2009. They consist of eleven young men, aged between 13 and 26, who are friends and brothers. Perhaps the most recognisable of them is one of the younger members, Perri, known for his distinctive hair, stylish specs and habit of being thrown around by the rest of the troupe. When I saw that Diversity were coming to the Plymouth Pavilions in December, I knew it was the perfect present for my daughter's birthday. I was so disappointed when I realised the show was completely sold out - but when I checked back a couple of weeks later there were, joy of joys, two tickets in a prime position in the second row available. I snapped them up quick-smart, as you can imagine! Each ticket cost £29.50, which reflects the popularity of Diversity and the good seats we'd acquired. I bought them online through the Pavilions website. They were delivered by post within a week. Plymouth Pavilions is a large well-laid out venue in the centre of Plymouth, with its own car-park and nearby multi-storey. We parked in the Western Approach multi-storey because the other was full and walked across to the Pavilions via the covered pedestrian bridge. Within the Pavilions itself, it was easy to find where the entrance to the show was by all the people milling around! Staff were selling Diversity merchandise at a table and checking tickets at the doors into the arena bar & waiting area. As you'd expect the merchandise was quite expensive, with hoodies going for £28 and small hoodie-clad teddy bears for £10. It looked to be good quality products, though, (and I softened and bought the birthday girl a teddy when it came to the intermission). At the doors into the auditorium, helpful staff directed us to our seats. We hadn't realised that there was a support act. This was the Marvell Crew, who sang and rapped before the main event to get the audience hyped up (although, to be honest, everyone seemed excited and engaged without their efforts). They were entertaining and my daughter thought they added to the whole experience, although I could have lived without them. There was a great roar from the crowd when the show finally began. The opening is spectacular, with pyrotechnics and special effects. These are skilfully used throughout and the production values seemed high. The show as a whole was very slick and professional in appearance, without losing any vibrancy. This Christmas-inspired Diversity show is called "Diversitoys", where the troupe play themselves but in a shrunken world where they are action figures in a toy-shop, miraculously brought to life. The story-line has them trying to find & protect the secret ultimate toy of their kindly toymaker, while a ghastly rival tries to steal it. The narrative thread is sometimes weak & predictable but serves the primary purpose of taking us between incredible dance set-pieces. And make no mistake, they are incredible: the choreography and timing, athleticism, acrobatics and pure style all amazing. The scenes of the outer world are CGI, shown on large screen. The show utilises the screen throughout, for Diversity to react to, interact with and as backgrounds. On their travels through the toyshop, they meet various characters whose dance routines complement Diversity brilliantly. Particularly impressive was the performance of teenager (also a 2009 Britain's Got Talent contestant) Aidan Davis as "Bionic Boy". I think inevitably the most distinctive personality in the troupe is Perri's with his hair and his mobile, expressive face as he dances, but this isn't to take anything from the rest of the troupe, they are outstanding. They are a talented bunch and seem genuinely in tune with each other. Their trademark hug at the end as a blizzard of "snow" fell on them and the audience was heart-warming and a lovely finale. The crowd were with them all the way, and I doubt anyone who saw the show would have had anything bad to say about it. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire show, which was about two hours long with an intermission. I would absolutely go to see them again live, well worth the money.