LORD OF THE DANCE: DANGEROUS GAMES UK TOUR
The Bristol Hippodrome
Tuesday 12th – Saturday 16th May 2015
The UK Tour of Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games shows in Bristol from the 12th – 16th May and will run until 4 July with a one-off performance at Wembley Arena. Morgan Comer stars as the Lord of the Dance with Tom Cunningham playing the Dark Lord.
“Flatley’s new show Dangerous Games has exciting and ground-breaking new technology, including holographs, dancing robots, world champion acrobats and the greatest team of Irish Dancers in the world.”
With my eleven year old firmly entrenched in SATS week and my middle boy appearing in four performances of a show himself this week, I take the brave decision to bring my six year old along to the press night. At 8pm, the evening performance starts a little later than most shows and about the time he’d normally be going to bed, but the estimated running time is only just over two hours, including the interval so I’m optimistic that he’ll manage to stay awake until the end.
The story comes from “Little Spirit” who dreams of the character “Lord of the Dance” and his fight against the evil dark lord and his army of Dark Disciples. “Lord of the Dance” defeats the Dark Lord’s invasion with help from a little spirit.
There’s also a “love versus lust” theme – the wicked seductress, Morrighan, comes between the Lord and his true love Saoirse. Erin the Goddess puts into song the words that the dances convey.
The show’s title comes from the contemporary hymn and the story has roots both in ancient Irish folklore and Biblical references.
A large screen at the rear of the stage is widely used to reflect the different mood of each scene. The show begins with a brief arty film, recounting the history and successes of Lord of the Dance. My son momentarily hides his head when the evil Lord starts to speak in his loud menacing voice, then leans over to ask me for tissues. Sensing my confusion, he explains that he wants to stuff them in his ears to dull the booming sound effects. After this brief scene, sound levels are adjusted, delicate ears are appeased, tissues are removed and the six year old is engrossed.
During peaceful scenes, the screen features Disneyesque animations of enchanted woods, rainbows, unicorns and butterflies. (At one point I’m reminded of those moving waterfall pictures they used to have in Chinese takeaways to lull you as you waited for your order!) At the front of the stage long haired girls waft gracefully and noiselessly across the floor in floaty dresses and dainty Irish “ghillies”, the trademark soft black shoes fastened to the foot with long criss-cross laces. Even in these sweet scenes though, these dancers display a happy cheeky demeanour, along with bouffant hairstyles and makeup, which suggest that they may not be made solely of sugar and spice and all things nice after all!
In contrast, Morrighan the temptress appears to have been poured into her skintight shiny sparkly costumes. Her dance styles are different to the good girls and at one point she reminds me of a belly dancer.
All these immaculately turned out women are clearly very talented yet its the men who really get the audience hot under the collar. Their dancing is energetic, strong and relentless. When the lads whip their tops off and perform competitive press ups in preparation for a high energy “good versus evil” dance-off, the audience is having fun and expresses its appreciation by whooping loudly. It’s the dancing itself which is the real attraction of course. Images on screen, coupled with the sounds created by their hard shoes bring to mind gunshot, heavy industry and trains clattering along tracks. At the end of the exhausting scene there’s frantic applause and, I believe, relief, on the face of Morgan Comer, the Lord of the Dance.
We’re offered a change of pace after frantic scenes like this – a female singer gently telling the story between dances or a soothing violin duet performed by glamourous ladies dancing round in sparkly dresses and high stilettos.
Having grown up with Ben 10’s aliens, a bunch of evil dancing automatons with red eyes present no concern to my boy and despite the late hour, the show keeps his interest until the end. The following day he proudly tells his brother there are Star Wars-like characters in the show! The only part he finds slightly scary is the brief, yet menacing appearance of The Dark Lord, although I think it’s mainly the high sound levels rather than the content which make him flinch. (Note to self: Remember to bring earplugs to the theatre next time, just to be on the safe side).
If you also have a brave six year old who isn’t easily scared, they may appreciate Lord of the Dance as much as my son did, but if you’re not sure, you might prefer to wait until they’re seven or eight to splash out on a ticket.
Morgan Comer has been with Lord of the Dance since 2012 and recently starred in Dangerous Games at the London Palladium alongside Michael Flatley in 2014. He has previously won a number of titles, including the World Championship.
Tom Cunningham has been with Lord of the Dance since 1997 and has travelled the world with Lord of the Dance and notes performing with Michael Flatley at Madison Square Garden as a career highlight.
In the UK, the show is performing concurrently in London at the Dominion Theatre until 5 September and on the UK Tour until 4 July.
For further details on the UK Tour, visit www.lordofthedance.com.
LORD OF THE DANCE – DANGEROUS GAMES
Tuesday 12th – Saturday 16th May
Evenings at 8.00 pm
Mat on Sat at 2.30 pm
Tickets: £24.90 – £48.40
Concessions available at certain performances
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DISCLOSURE: WE RECEIVED TICKETS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY/OUR OWN.