Celebrating its 21st birthday, Riverdance is thought to be an icon across the world having been hugely popular in Ireland, the UK, the USA, Germany, Canada, Australia, China, Africa and Brazil, in addition to having a Grammy to its name. Riverdance focuses on the history of Ireland through dancing, singing or playing out the myths, beliefs and cultural changes that are closest to the Irish heart.
This week Riverdance is based at The Wimbledon New Theatre before it moves on to The Cambridge Corn Exchange (3rd-5th May), Stoke Regent’s Theatre (6th-7th May), Portsmouth Guildhall (10th-12th May) and Plymouth Pavilions (13th-15th May). The New Wimbledon Theatre is a beautiful venue with comfy seats and most importantly friendly and helpful staff – something that really made the theatre experience truly pleasurable.
For those who think Riverdance is just dance after dance after dance, you couldn’t be more wrong. While it is probably true that you need to enjoy watching dancing to fully be in awe of Riverdance, it also provides phenomenal singing and superb music, which fully engages the audience and transports them to the ethereal yet fun filled world of Irish culture.
Having said that, the dance is a major feature of Riverdance and what brilliant dancing it is! I would challenge anyone not to be awed by the standard of dance that is displayed on stage. With exceptional timing, technically perfect footwork and a beautiful sound (produced by the hard shoes) there is nothing to add other than the fact that the dance content is a thing of beauty for both the eyes and the ears.
A special mention, however, needs to go to Scene Twelve: part II – Trading Taps. ‘Under the street lamps in the new cities the dancers perform with pride in their heritage, curious to see what other traditions bring, struggling to bridge the gap between old dreams and new realities.’ With tappers Hamilton and Patel bringing a new style of dance to the stage, this scene brings a new dynamic and a lot of fun to the show as the new tries to outdo the old and vice versa. The sheer technique of Hamilton and Patel, along with Hodges is almost otherworldly and I think many dancers would aspire to this level of skill. What is more though is the facial expressions and acting all of the men provide during the scene, documenting the anger and aggression as the traditions of Irish dance try to overpower the new relaxed tap, which slowly changes into a relaxed, fun acceptance of each others style of dance. This scene is truly amazing with my only complaint being that it did not go on long enough; I could have watched it all night!
Another mention needs to go to Scene Twelve: part III – The Russian Dervish and the Russian Ensemble who performed the breathtaking trick in this. With super fast spins, traditional Russian moves and girls flying through the air held up by just their partners, this scene was really something else to behold.
Finally, the only thing left to say is that Riverdance is a truly incredible night of entertainment of all sorts. I now have the Riverdance bug and am already looking to see if I can get tickets to see it again in one of the other venues on the UK Tour.
Review by Kat Caunter
New Wimbledon Theatre
Original Principal Irish Dance Choreography: Michael Flatley
Composer: Bill Whelan
Director: John McCologan
Producer: Moya Doherty
Principal Dancers: Natasia Petracic, Ciara Sexton, Emma Warren, Brendan Dorris, Bobby Hodges and Callum Spencer
Tappers: Rohan Pinnock Hamilton and Dharmesh Patel
Flamenco Soloist: Rocio Montoya
Russian Ensemble: Ana Turcan, Evgenii Gurianov, Iana Hajdau, Eugeniu Turcan, Anna Vedenina and Anatolii Zavitov
Band: Ceilidh Briscoe, Nêgah Santos, Tara Howley and Emma McPhilemy
New Wimbledon Theatre
Booking to 30th April 2016
6th and 7th May 2016