November 12, 2014
There are too many wonderful things to say about Riverdance’s 20th anniversary showpiece at the Playhouse, so let’s get the boring bits out of the way first, shall we?
Yes, it all started out during the interval at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. And, yes, it’s become a global phenomenon loved by royalty, peasants and celebs alike. However, in the two decades since Riverdance came clacking into the universe, it’s evolved to include other dance disciplines, as well as a healthy dose of humour and showboating, too.
If we weren’t jigging around Dublin’s Liffey River, we were tap-dancing our way across the New York Hudson, or snapping the Caracas on the plains of Spain. For it’s that kind of show: varied, nicely weighted, and perfectly paced.
Naturally, the emphasis is on the traditional Irish dancing. However, the irony of their sexy, percussive, syncopated rhythms is that they leave you, the viewer paralysed by the sheer awesomeness of it all. To catch a breath, some ethereal songs pitched by the female-dominated Chorus were delicately interspersed. So heavenly did they sound, it was as if God had come down and rained gifts of forgiveness upon you. Some individual flamenco segments, courtesy of Rocio Montoya, threatened to slow things down, but they merely added more colour. A nice touch.
Incidentally, you might think the musicians would be kept out of sight in all this, but, led by Italian fiddler David Lombardi, it’s to their slick, groovy credit that the quartet more than held their own.
As lead principal dancer, Bobby Hodges makes Michael Flatley look, well, flat by comparison. His female counterpart – Ciara Sexton – is impishly majestic. To be fair, though, Riverdance is a team effort where everyone gets a chance to shine.
As for the flaws? Well, there simply aren’t any. Here’s to another 20 years.
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