Dance Lord of the Dance Coliseum, London
Friday 26 July 1996
Our Lord's entrance in warm leatherette is greeted with screams of delight and his first solo is cheered to the skies. Despite reports of a recent calf injury, he dances with strength and speed and panache but the limited vocabulary of Irish dance makes for monotony after a bit. Flatley senses this, and attempts to bring the normally rigid upper body to life with a variety of macho poses culled from the body builder's repertoire. He is also very proud of the fact that this show, unlike Riverdance, has a story: he has no reason to be so. The plot (as if anyone cared) is cod- Celtic twaddle about the winsome doings of a flute-playing pixie in gold lame bell-bottoms. Bad guys break her flute, Flatley fixes it, a paramilitary squad of step-dancing thugs kill him but he rises again seconds later in another pair of trousers. The audience is rightly uninvolved in the plot. The sure test of this is the cheers and whistles for the bad guys after they march in triumph on breaking the pixie's flute - no one ever applauds the Wilis in Giselle.
Like many star vehicles, Flatley's show carries quite a few passengers in order to provide the 38-year-old with a few breaks between dances. But where the Riverdance ensemble is light and lively and elegantly turned out, Flatley's new chorus is unbecomingly decked in pastel shortie nighties (it's hard to believe that the same Sue Blane designed English National Ballet's exquisite Alice in Wonderland). Most sport long hair that looks like its had a nasty accident with a home perm. The overall effect is less dream-time in Erin, more party-time in Erith. Even the audience felt the difference - if you can gauge a house's disapproval by its failure to scream with pleasure. Both choruses have been very expertly drilled but then so have my teeth (and to greater aesthetic effect).
But what do I know? By the end, three quarters of the huge house was on its feet. The star took a long warm bath in the adoring applause of his public and affected astonishment at their desire for more - a completely bogus response as he has a special outfit for the encores. No doubt the lady behind me will buy the video but it won't get as many plays as Riverdance. That was an attempt to celebrate an almost forgotten dance tradition; Lord of the Dance is merely a celebration of Michael Flatley. I only wish I hadn't crashed the party.
n Booking: 0171-632 8300
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
First Look at Bryan Cranston transformed into LBJ for HBO’s ‘All the Way’ film
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
Star Wars: New action dolls launched on Force Friday ahead of The Force Awakens release
Ricki And The Flash, film review: Meryl Streep's rock'n'roll creation steals the show
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up