Lord of the Dance’s final—ever – tour did little but to showcase a light entertainment relic that is certainly in need of putting to sleep. A cultural abomination that does a disservice to any art form coming within any radius of the production, its survival thus far is nothing but a complete and utter mystery. Were I a movie bad guy, it would torture me that it was still even in existence. I’d be cursing into my clenched fist: “Flatley!”
Now, I’m not a cynic. Way back in the 1990s, this reviewer dreamed of being the gorgeous Jean Butler. What happened when Riverdance took to the stage as the Eurovision waited for phonelines to close in 1994 made its mark on a generation. I came to praise Flatley, not to bury him. But. … Really?
I should have known things were on the slide when there was no programme to be seen upon arrival, and reviewers were told if we wanted to know who was on stage tonight, go to lordofthedance.com when we got home. Strange. Reviewers are normally given that information as a matter of course. As it happened, there was nobody who needed to be picked out for having any kind of stage presence tonight, although conversely, this meant any guilty parties on the production side got away scot-free as well.
Nothing, simply nothing about this production was good enough for a paying audience. The stage design was 20 years out of date; the lighting – painful on the eye most of the time — seemed to exist to completely disguise any moves an audience would like to see on stage; any excuse for plot was simply beyond ludicrous; and the main points for which anyone would even turn up in the first place – the choreography and the musical numbers – were horribly lacking.
If the footwork, the skill had been there any step of the way — if something, anything, had been there to excite, there would be no problem. But everything was lost in a sea of cheap hair extensions and fake smiles that made Katie Price look like an evening’s better company. To be honest, Jordan’s version of A Whole New World probably had a lot more sincerity to it than anything an audience had to sit through tonight. A Father Ted-esque ‘lovely girl’ would occasionally take to the stage in a glittery dress and butcher Celtic-sounding tracks. Like her, I also wished I was in Carrackfergus.
As for the dancing, they lost me the minute they decided they had to whip off their multi-coloured velour, Bucks Fizz style, to do the ol’ Riverdance in their knickers for no reason at all.
By the time the Flatley-esque lead paraded his WWE-style ‘Lord of the Dance’ belt, I wondered if I’d just simply gone mad. It was like the sort of thing that should have been funny, but really hadn’t been played for laughs at all. And with a lack of dynamism to the routines that was nothing short of shameful, a tippy-tappy sea of ‘meh’ with a big dollop of ‘can’t really see what’s going on’ on the side was not going to cut it.
Yet – in the interest of balance – when all was said and done the audience rose to their feet; and not in a Simpsons-style pitchfork-wielding mob, attempting to track down who was responsible, oddly enough. Because they liked it. Yes, it got a standing ovation.