Composed by Bill Whelan Directed by John McColgan
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
by Giorgia Moraw
From the original dance numbers, deeply routed in Irish traditions, producers, composers and directors have created a show that is dancing its way around the world. Three companies are simultaneously performing : the Lagan, the Lee, and the Liffey companies. Over the years nine families, brothers and sisters, have joined the Riverdance and contributed to this huge success.
It is real poetry in motion, a balanced reception of music, dance, and song performed by the cream of musical talent. From the dancers led by Michael Patrick Gallagher and Ciara Kennedy to the choir singers and the orchestra, every element shares a history of dedication to Irish culture, promoted and developed through years of musical studies.
Dancing has been a part of Irish life for a very long time. When Irish men and women left their native land, they brought with them their culture and carried it wherever they settled. From these themes the show unfolds, erupting into unbelievable foot-action and breath taking tunes.
The first act evolves around elements of nature: the Moon, the Sun, Fire and Water. All narrated through a very pantheistic vision. The second act rolls many aspects of dancing into the performance, each of them sharing the "foot-steps" magic: Irish dancing, Spanish Flamenco, Russian ballet, and American tapping, uniquely blended into the Riverdance fever. The Moscow Folk ballet company brought its formed and distinctive interpretation of classical dance, while Marta Jimenez was the personification of the Spanish virtuosity and "fuego". Absolutely remarkable was the "Trading Taps" scene, where loose-contemporary tappers compete against Irish dancers with a battle to the last tap. This totally drove the audience crazy!
Of great musical interest was the performance of the orchestra which performed pieces ranging from traditional and classic to modern with very pleasing visual effects. Particularly enjoyed by the audience was the performance of Niamh Ni Charra, on the fiddle, the only lady of the group. With long blonde hair and her electric blue instrument, she reminded us of Tinker Bell. She started to play at the age of five and by the way she danced around the stage with her fiddle, this was easily believable. Later in life she shifted her attention to her electrical engineering studies in Boston and only recently returned to her first love and passion by joining the Riverdance.A heartfelt applause also goes to John O'Brien at the Villeann Pipes and Low Whistle, and soloists Jennifer Curran, Brian Dunphy, and Kevin Deas.
In conclusion, the best ever selling video in the world has become one of the best musical productions on stage. I would have never thought I could have stared for two hours at someone's feet with so much interest and thrill.