REVIEW: RIVERDANCE 20 YEARS MAYFLOWER 1 DECEMBER 2014
Posted by Andy Goddard
Posted in News
Editor Kevin Gover reviews Riverdance at Mayflower Theatre
There are two things that every Eurovision fan remembers about two particular Eurovision Song Contest interval acts held in Dublin. They happened in 1988 and 1994. The funny thing is that no-one ever remembers who won the actual contests.
As a Eurovision aficionado, I remember them both vividly. 30 April 1988, and the Hothouse Flowers leapt to fame with their video ‘Don’t Go’ which was filmed in 11 countries around Europe.
30 April 1994 at the Point and it was Riverdance with THAT seven-minute routine which left the whole of Europe open-mouthed.
20 years on then, and Riverdance is at The Mayflower. Could the new cast lift everyone to those giddy heights of 1994? Of course they could!
Just the same as Riverdance has come on its own 20-year journey, so are we taken on a journey throughout the evening. Some of it is through different styles of dance, like the flamenco. Another is Russian and based on original choreography from the Moscow Folk Ballet. In fact, the Russian Riverdance Troupe are all Russian. Other parts are on a more emotional basis, like being torn away from the Emerald Isle.
‘Trading Taps’ was a great example of this; how the journey has been extended around the world. Irish music has obviously been a great influence over the other side of the pond. Here we had two ‘street’ dancers in the Big Apple trading off their American style of tap dancing skills against the Irish dancers, and vice-versa. It drew laughter and huge applause and was great fun.
I loved how the musicians – the STUNNING musicians – were allowed to be and feel part of the entire show. They were always on stage, and though their presence obviously allowed for the numerous costume changes to take place behind them, they were never second best to the dancing.
Without them, there would simply not be the pulsating atmosphere and rhythm. What a drummer. What a drum kit! Even Keith Moon would have been jealous at the size of it.
The dancers themselves are world class and mainly from Ireland, but they also come from Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia. Some in the audience may have liked to have played a game and would have been watching for mistakes. But you could have been watching until midnight and not have succeeded. Nobody, but nobody put a foot wrong.
And so onto the leads, Ciara Sexton and Bobby Hodges. It cannot be easy for them, as history precedes them. Indeed some of the choreography that you see was originally created by Michael Flatley and Jean Butler.
But I was blown away by both Ciara and Bobby, and do you know what the best part about them is for me? That they have a fantastic chemistry between them and around them. Bobby is smiling so much throughout the evening you can tell he cares. And in her tweet description, Ciara says that she is “proud to be a leading lady”. That, my friends, says it all.
It was standing room only on opening night – and I understand there are only around 200 seats left for the rest of the run.
You wouldn’t want to miss out… would you?
Another stunning 5-star show in what has already been a glorious year for the Mayflower.