Diversity: Born Ready – Review – Hull Bonus Arena
By Kirsty Reid, October 2019
It’s been 10 years since dance troupe Diversity claimed the Britain’s Got Talent crown. Fighting off stiff competition from hotly tipped favourite Susan Boyle, Ashley Banjo’s band of boppers wowed the nation with their perfectly synchronised dance routine.
It was clear from the first audition that Diversity were destined for greatness, gaining three yeses from judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan. With their impressive dance moves and innovative routines, Diversity proved they were, and still are, in a league of their own.
Since winning BGT, their career has gone from strength to strength. They’ve performed at the Royal Variety Show, had eight sell-out tours and countless television appearances. But, a decade on from the talent show, do Diversity have anything new to offer? I visited Hull’s Bonus Arena to find out…
Walking into the arena, there is a great buzz in the air. Adults of all ages are eagerly awaiting admission alongside giddy teens sporting Diversity hoodies and carrying ‘I love Ashley’ signs. With few spare seats in the arena, it’s clear Diversity are just as big now as they were 10 years ago.
Kicking off the show in the most heartwarming way possible, we are presented with a recording of Ashley reading an emotional letter from his mum, Danielle, a former ballet dancer who taught him to dance. It’s refreshing to see that love and family are what matters most to these guys – no matter how much success they have.
The high-energy show is packed with immaculately choreographed routines documenting the role music has played in their progression, how the routines come together and how, at the core of it all, the group still has fun.
Flitting between passionate performances to bold and daring, ‘Born Ready’ showcases just how far Diversity have come. With mind-blowing stunts, fire dancing and, of course, plenty of back flips. These guys are talented as individuals, en masse they’re an innovative super group.
While I’m more than impressed by how much bigger and bolder their performances are, what I love most is the passion behind it all. A stand-out routine saw doting dad Ashley dance to George Ezra’s ‘Hold My Girl’, while cradling his daughter, Rose, swaying from side to side to the heartwarming lyrics.
Videography is cleverly used throughout the production to help tell the tale of the group’s journey to epic success. Father-of-one Ashley is seen telling baby Rose how the group has grown into what they are now and how anything is possible if you work hard. But ‘Born Ready’ is not only a tribute to the group’s past, it also looks to the future.
Speaking of the ‘Born Ready’ tour, choreographer Ashley said: “‘Born Ready’ will not only look back at some of the iconic Diversity moments over the past 10 years. But it will also look forward to the future, at how Diversity continues to evolve and how we plan to pass what we’ve created onto the next generation.”
From start to finish the show was beyond mesmerising. With military precision movements and outstanding special effects, the tight-knit crew have really set the bar high, but I’m excited to see what more they have to offer.