Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games, Saturday 28th January, St David’s Hall. Reviewer: Hannah Hopkins
Admittedly, as an audience member I was completely new to the Lord of the Dance phenomenon, and I wouldn’t have thought it would be anything I would ever be invested in. However, seeing Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games last night proved to me more than ever that taking yourself out of your comfort zone to see something different might well pay off. On a personal level, I thoroughly enjoyed this production, so much so that I even bought a show programme afterwards. And to be honest, I am still smiling to myself about the performance even today.
Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games premiered in 2014 at the Palladium Theatre in London’s West End, and has grown from strength to strength since then. As a montage at the beginning of the show informed us, it has sold out numerous times in virtually every continent – proof that the Flatley legacy is still wowing audiences even after his retirement in 2016.
Michael Flatley choreographed Dangerous Games, and it doesn’t move too far away from its predecessor – maintaining a lot of the same acts and very much the same plot. The show describes itself as ‘a classic tale of good versus evil’, and following a projection of Flatley and his young son winding up a clock, we are transported into the dream world of the Little Spirit. The Lord of the Dance – James Keegan – is a representative of all things good, and the story sees him fighting against the Dark Lord and his army of Dark Disciples. Alongside this, Morrighan the Seductress attempts to come between The Lord and Saorise – his one true love. Though the story is a simple one, I couldn’t quite grasp it during the first half of the show – it felt quite compartmentalised as each act drew to a close and moved onto the next.
Fortunately, the second half did the story justice and the distinction between good and evil was more defined. The Lord of the Dance’s capture and then release was greatly done, yet for me, was over all too quickly. A sense of villainy is captured well by the Dark Disciples, and just how this is done through dance is interesting to see. Saorise, though seemingly a main character, on occasions didn’t stand out from the rest of the female cast as I felt she could have done, which could have enhanced the storytelling. James Keegan as the Lord of the Dance was really great: he really helped to capture the audience, on occasions breaking the fourth wall momentarily to get us involved. Of course, it goes without saying, his dancing was incredible.
There was a complete abundance of Irish dancing, which in my opinion, is always spectacular and combined with the high production value of this particular show, it was magical. The costumes are very well done, and gained a lot of attention in certain parts from audience members. The show is accompanied by a screen, showing interesting graphics to convey a sense of setting, and there’s the occasional pyrotechnic which added to the excitement. The two Fiddle players are incredibly fun, and add a lot of energy when they’re on stage. It was great to see them performing alongside the majority of the cast during one number and though mostly instrumental pieces, there are some vocals added on occasions.
The show is at its pinnacle when all of the cast members appear for the titular tune, and during the encore, the audience rose for a well-deserved standing ovation. There is no doubting that this is a spectacle: the dancing is flawless and everyone who graced the stage is incredibly talented.
by Hannah Hopkins (@snikpohhannah)