Saturday, 10 July 2010

Tap Dance Fever, Theatre Royal

When my mum bought me tickets for this show for my birthday I was over the moon! Let’s just get one thing straight before I tell you about this show, I LOVE TAP DANCING!!!

Tap Dance Fever took me through the art of rhythmic dance from the era of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers right up to the newer body-percussive styles of Stomp and Tap Dogs.

Due to my dance experience and slightly crazy obsession with tap I was going to be a fairly difficult audience member to please! Initially I struggled to ignore the dodgy click tracks and unconvincing miming from the chorus and not least the terrible combinations of jazz-style tap shoes and skirts (very unflattering on the legs)! I felt disappointed in the costumes for scenes from 42nd Street where they didn’t always co-ordinate through the chorus members and just didn’t have quite enough sparkle!!!

By the end of the first half, all of my criticisms for costumes and backing tracks were well and truly forgotten and I was totally won over by the abilities of each and every member of the cast. When they performed in unison, it sounded like there was only one dancer on the stage, a tell-tale sign of perfect timing and spot-on rhythms.

The main female singer in the cast bared an uncanny vocal resemblance to Christina Aguilera, which was shown off when the girls of the company performed a fabulous cover of “Candy Man”. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a programme available for this show so I can’t name all of my favourites!

The interaction between the dancers was amazing, it was clear that they were having the time of their lives and so was the audience. The energy and spirit held right to the very end of what must have been an exhausting performance!

The standing ovation during the final piece summed up the performance. Tap Dance Fever was an outstanding, fast paced and invigorating show.

They had rhythm, who could ask for anything more?!!!

Richard Alston, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

I was so excited to have got a 2 for 1 offer on tickets plus free pre-show talk with Richard Alston at the Theatre Royal. I hadn’t seen any of his work before but had heard really good things and knew he was the artistic director at The Place in London too, so he must be good?!!!

I took my boyfriend and we went to the pre-show talk which was very educational for me in terms of Alston’s choreographic processes. He appealed to my other half too as a musician due to most of his ideas and decisions for movement being influenced by music.

When it came to the performance itself, however, I have to admit I was slightly disappointed and don’t really have much to say. One more mature female dancer stood out as excellent amongst a fairly un-expressive company. I just didn’t “feel” the pieces shown, maybe I wasn’t in the right move or maybe the pre-show talk left me with too high expectations.

The second piece I found highly enjoyable in terms of movement and the lighting effects to create the “light through a window” were magical. Unfortunately, the lighting was more convincing than what Alston had described earlier as an intense emotional connection between man and woman. The dancers faces were still and I didn’t feel connected to the movement, although the choreography was beautifully subtle with bursts of light in amongst modest shade.

I will go and see more pieces by Richard Alston as I believe that he must have more in his repertoire that would suit my tastes more. Would I go to another pre-show talk? I’m not sure; I think that this one made me enjoy the performance less, what do you think?