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Lord of the Dance

18 October 06 words: Dom Henry
Michael Flatley's Irish dance spectacular is in town, we tanked up our writer with Caffreys and sent him to investigate

Lord of the Dance production photo (c)

How would have thought it? a show based on a popular hymn, and I only noticed as a shiny irish pixie piped out the suddenly familiar morning assembly favourite on the Theatre Royal stage, ah t’be sure.

Since the sudden rise to fame of massed Irish dancing in 1994, courtesy of Riverdance bagging a half time slot at Eurovision, Michael Flatley has gone on to make a stinking great fortune with ‘Lord of The Dance’. Fifty million punters later and this show continues to pull sell out crowds after nearly a decade of touring, with the Theatre Royal being no exception.

Lord of the Dance production photo (c)

So what’s all the fuss about you ask? Well Oirish lovers, it’s in the great scale of it all, epic U2 level lighting, a hefty sound system, and enough cliched celtic sentiment to launch a thousand Sinn Fein fundraisers, all providing the back drop and filler to a series of impressive set pieces from the attractive massed dancers.

The plot, such as it is, is a vague reworking of an Irish folk legend following the conflict of a pair of good and bad lords who chase the pick of their long haired dancing lovlies. Throw in to the feuding dance troupe mix we have some penny whistling pixie spirits, fiddle playing sorcerers, and a mysterious green velvet clad lady. Clannad eat your heart out.

The dancing is inspiring, whether it be the fever pitched Irish syncrohnized tap dancing (over 150 000 taps a show), ballet moves, modern infuenced tap or even the pole dancing flavoured numbers. On that note the costumes are worth a mention, the ladies are clad in mini skirt trimmed bodices for most of the time, with the exception of a couple of numbers such as the ‘hot pants and bras’ routine. “Oh Those Hussies!” my Irish nan would say.

Lord of the Dance production photo (c)

The males are rather cheesily clad, since the departure of Flatley on the front row they seem to have been shopping at the Ted Hankey school of darts and line dancing wear. It’s great, the first number looked like a Kwik Fit Xmas hoe down. You can’t knock their dancing tho, the males brimming with bravado and boisterous energy, the ladies with serene poise. The Lord of the Dance himself, the leader of the good guys, was stupendous in speed and agility, especially in his Elvis outfits, oh momma.

In a nutshell it’s a well lit series of stunning set pieces interspersed with faux Oirish filler. A show where where Hollywood razzle dazzle meets risible Irish legend, and while far from authentic on the history and music front the show is one hell of a spectacle.

Lord of the Dance is playing at the Royal Concert Hall until Saturday 21st October

Lord of the Dance Website
 
 

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