Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games
Lunchbox Theatrical Productions
QPAC Concert Hall
October 13 – 16 2015
Reviewed by Ruth Ridgway
If you believe in yourself and you are willing to work hard, then nothing is impossible.
Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games is a lavish theatrical experience, with spectacular lighting, video and technical effects – including some very dramatic pyrotechnics. The large-screen visuals include images of highly coloured Irish mythical landscapes, inhabited by horses, unicorns and butterflies, as well as a beautiful image of the moon, fountains, lava, and burning forests. The images of burning, combined with ‘live’ pyrotechnics were particularly effective.
The performers include 34 dancers, two fiddlers (Giada Costenaro Cunningham and Eimear Reilly), an acrobat (Jess Judge), and a singer (Rachael O’Connor). The dance predominates, interspersed with several numbers for the fiddlers, and for the singer.
The percussive Irish-based dance was exciting and rousing, and a definite crowd-pleaser. The technique amazes me – how do the dancers manage to move their lower legs in so many different impossible-looking directions? And the speed of the tapping is phenomenal.
The show is tied together with a loose story about a battle between good and evil, in a dream by the appealing Little Spirit (Jess Judge). The Lord of the Dance (Morgan Comer) and the Dark Lord (Tom Cunningham) fight it out, as do Saoirse (the Lord of the Dance’s true love) (Nikita Cassidy) and Morrighan (the evil Seductress) (a lithe and smouldering Andrea Kren). The baddies have some powerful dance sequences, while the goodies are sometimes a little insipid in comparison.
The women danced more lyrical numbers in soft shoes, which were not as strong and effective as the more vigorous numbers, and had less variety of movement. The women, more so than the men, appeared in some seductive and revealing costumes that made their bodies more the visual focus, rather than the dance. That said, the men did appear shirtless on a few occasions, which provoked whooping and applause. (It would have been nice to have a cast sheet or an announcement so that we knew who was dancing which role on the night).
Many of the costumes were elaborate and striking, with lots of glitter. The men’s costumes for a group of step-dancing robots were very effective, creating the illusion that they were indeed non-human.
The show begins and ends with video of Michael Flatley, prominently branded as ‘Lord of the Dance’. (N.B. Flatley does not appear live in the show). The final video segment features three Michael Flatleys, dancing side by side, showing how he has earned, and kept, his title. While there are fabulous Irish dancers in this show, particularly the charismatic Morgan Comer as Lord of the Dance, Flatley is still the master.
Overall, this production is hyper-spectacular, with some great dancing that lifts the spirit.
Final performance tonight 8pm