While the golden age of the Irish dancing phenomenon may have been back in the ‘90s, Michael Flately’s new show Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games, at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre, is certainly bringing back Irish flair.
It is clear Flatley wants to bring Irish dancing into the digital age as the show blends traditional Irish dancing with space age motifs reminiscent of Avatar.
The storyline theme centres on a clash between robotic sentinels and human warriors. Other themes include nature versus machine and of course a fight for love. All this provided entertainment but at times seemed diluted and fragmented.
The stage video projections provided setting and helped the audience through the story, each set using different projections to add colour and context. This was a clever but at times the pictures were reminiscent of a windows 98 screen saver.
The dancing was energetic and strong providing true visual and audible delights for the audience that made the heart pump. The men, either dressed in space age costumes or especially rousing when shirtless, showing strength, virility and sensuality in their highly energetic tap numbers.
A highlight was the fight dance-off scene which was the apex of the story: the dancers conveyed the emotional intensity that amplified the conflict to come through strong.
The cast all danced excellently with Morgan Comer leading as “the Lord” showcasing his extensive talent. James Keegan also stood out as the evil villain.
Unfortunately the women weren’t given the same chance to show off their talents as most of their dance performances appeared more ornamental than rousing. This isn’t to say they didn’t give good performances but there was a disparity between the genders in the distribution of show-stopping numbers.
But the two female violinists made up for that giving thumping “warring fiddles” performances that were a wonderful addition to the entertainment as well as providing that essential traditional Irish sound audiences had come to experience. The fiddlers also added much-needed energy and harmony to the show as well as surprising versatility. The projection of Irish fields transposed in the moon with a cosmological background while the two fiddlers played up tempo and managed to dance is a fantastic image that you leave with.
The finale was the jewel in the crown, the dancing intense and dramatic with spectacular sequences and loud displays of the power of all dancers.
For lovers of Irish dance Dangerous Games will delight and may entice new fans as, despite the fact that there are times when the energy dips a notch, by the end of the show your feet will be jigging along with the dancers.