Peter Kay’s Dance for Life review: Comedian makes joyous return to stage in Manchester with huge dance party

Peter Kay is certainly a man of many talents; a beloved comedian, as well as an award-winning writer and actor, but can he add superstar DJ to to his CV? Although his mixing may not be quite as slick Calvin Harris or David Guetta, Bolton’s favourite son had thousands in the palm of his hand as he made a joyous return to stage in Manchester.

During a three hour ‘dance-a-thon’ at Manchester Central, the national treasure treated the crowd to banger after banger from Abba to House of Pain and from the Urban Cookie Collective to S Club. Kay started Dance for Life back in 2016 to raise money for Cancer Research UK. This particular event has been rescheduled from 2020 and marks one of the comedian’s first public appearances since being forced to cancel a huge tour in 2018 citing ‘unforeseen family circumstances’.

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The 48-year-old eventually took to the stage at around 7.50pm about 20 minutes behind schedule and joked: “Sorry we’re late, they’re a bit slow coming in”. He added: “A lot of you won’t get a chance to dance anymore. If you’re like me, it’ll be every four years at a wedding for about 11 minutes until they play something modern and you sit down because you feel about 100!”

The warmth that he exudes from stage throughout is infectious and really helps set the tone for the fantastic atmosphere. Wearing a rainbow sweatband on his head and a shell suit adorned with drawings of vinyl records, Kay kicked the set off with Agadoo and before pausing to tell the audience “You don’t all have to look at me, you can dance!”

Peter DJing at Dance for Life

People of all ages – from 18 to 80 – were dressed in weird and wonderful fancy dress costumes with Fred Flintstone, Ali G and Max from Phoenix Nights standing out.

There were also leg warmers, shell suits and colourful wigs aplenty.

The production was also really impressive with big screens showing clips and captions to accompany the music. It included very well-received in-jokes for Peter Kay fans such as ‘just let me staple the vicar’ popping up during Sister Sledge’s We Are Family – part of his famous misheard song lyrics stand-up routine.

An animated map highlighting places such as Dudley and Milton Keynes during ‘We Found Love in a Hopeless Place’ also drew big laughs from the audience.

As the night went on there were rave sections, incredible light shows and even pyrotechnics. On occasion, Peter would venture down from his DJ booth to have a dance on stage with the likes of a Bolton and Bury Zumba Gold club and to start a ‘love train’ during the O’Jays song of the same name.

If you take yourself too seriously you probably will not enjoy it but if you want to let off some much-needed steam after a tough couple of years, have a good old boogie and a bit of a laugh then it is absolutely perfect.

Dance for Life returns to Manchester Central tomorrow night (Saturday April 16) before heading to London’s Alexandra on April 29. It will then return for two nights at Liverpool’s Space by M&S Bank Arena on August 19 and 20.