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Review: Fancy footwork that thrills – Lord of the Dance at Hull New Theatre

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I joined a very, very excited and exuberant audience at Hull New Theatre last night ready for the opening night of the blockbuster production: Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. Having seen this on TV and in various forms over the years, I knew I was in for an exciting evening of traditional and sexed up Irish Dancing. Who knew Irish Dance could be sexy until Flatley came along? It brought Celtic stories and tunes and footwork to kill for.

In a past life, I studied tap, and I love tap dance. The flashier parts of the production were a tap/Irish crossover, I recognised many steps and rhythms but the syncopation was out of this world.

Lord of the Dance has a story, emerging from the dreams of the Little Spirit, and boy did the spirit capture the hearts of the audience. A classic tale of good versus evil, and our Lord of the Dance being good had to fight the Dark Lord and his warriors.  This was like the Jets v Sharks from “West Side Story” with posturing, challenges (of dance) bravado and fascinating rhythms in the feet of the dancers.

It’s also a story of love between the Lord and Saoirse with an interruption from Morrighan, an ally of the Dark Lord, who tries to temp the Lord of the Dance away from Saoirse.  I won’t go through the whole story, but of course good wins in the end, the Spirit gets her penny whistle back in one piece (with a big cheer from the audience) and the Lord of the Dance and Saoirse unite at the end.

The dances were pure and delightful in the traditional Irish dance form.  Light, springing and at times ethereal.  The sexier numbers with taps were strong, forceful and yet graceful and left the audience cheering after each one.  

Also in the show are a few appearances from Erin the Goddess who puts into song, what the dancers are feeling. She had a pure and beautiful voice which rose over our heads and filled the auditorium. Again, with cheers erupting at the end.

What production with an Irish base, could be without a couple of fiddles. The violin kind that is. We were treated to two beautiful young ladies in towering stiletto heels playing some fantastic Celtic music which had us all toe tapping and clapping along.  

This is the sort of production you have a lifelong wish to see (and didn’t realise you did). It sparkles, it booms, it’s sexy and yet innocent in parts. The backdrop played such bold scenes above ground in beautiful Irish green fields and in the Dark Lord’s underworld and then back to the beauty of the village and new life when good defeats evil. At times it has a panto feel about it with cheers and boos.

Flatley’s retired from dance now but has left a legacy in the dance world like no other with this show which tours worldwide to rapturous acclaim. Don’t miss it, there are odd tickets still available and it really is worth every penny of the ticket price.  Join in with 25 years of standing ovations as the program tells us. 

Lord of the Dance: 25 Years of Standing Ovation is at Hull New Theatre until 12 May 2022. Tickets and more information is available here >>

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