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Lord of the Dance taps into Wellington

27 Aug 2015

flatley one

My entrance into the St James Theatre was filled with a breed of anticipation that could only be created by a show name like ‘Dangerous Games’ and reviews dubbing it one of the best shows to come out of the West End. As I was only coming to terms with my own motor skills when the original Lord of the Dance strutted its Irish dancing self through the nineties - I was viewing the hype through fresh (and obscenely excited) eyes.

The opening of the show was a major ‘welcome to the 21st century’. Holographic technology flooded the stage and the scene was set with an exhaustive (and flashing) reminder of the shows various accolades over the years. I soon learnt that modesty isn’t a necessary element when you have created a cast that talented.

This is no exaggeration. The cast performed countless, flawless, routines. When the theatre wasn’t consumed with the roar of taps, it was filled with vocals and violins. There was more than just the traditional Irish dancing genre, with contemporary and gymnastic elements which is typical of Flatley’s ‘limit testing’ choreography. As performers go, this had to be one of the most talented and best looking groups of males and females I have ever seen. However, it was almost impossible to concentrate solely on the dancing (and also not develop a mild self esteem complex) as the costuming was everything from be-jazzled sports-bras to skin tight Lycra, with an omnipresence of shirtless males (not complaining).

I still haven’t quite managed to come to terms with the plot of the show. At its core it was a classic love story with good versus evil undertones. With such elaborate, visual backdrops it would have been good to have a little more thematic value than another Romeo and Juliet style performance. In saying that, the Shakespeare original doesn’t have a fully robotic army, fireworks and a seductress character quite like this.

Flatley makes a 'cameo' appearance right at the end as he features via three (yes, three) holographic projections of himself tapping away. I’m sure that little preview of the man himself would have kept the die-hard fans happy, though by this point of the show I just wanted to celebrate the cast that I had spent the last two hours gawking at.

All in all I was definitely impressed. As a musical theatre junkie I loved how elaborate every element of the show was and happily clapped and stomped along. This show is all about Flatley and the dancing, so if that’s your cup of tea I would be scrambling to get your hands on the tickets left for this week.

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