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Lord of the Dance (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Michael Flatley’s creation Lord of the Dance is not only still selling tickets but has been the highest grossing dance show in the world since it began in 1996 (just one of the many facts provided in the programme).

The plot is your basic good versus evil, other wise known as black leather with silver studs versus pastel shades and sequins. The good guy is the lord of the title who has to try and stop the dark lord Dorcha from taking his glittery belt (and the kingdom). Dorcha has a group of helmeted fellow baddies who try their very best to be menacing whilst Irish dancing.

Other characters include two romantic interests; one an evil seductress in a black and red catsuit; the other the true love in a short white lycra dress. The storyline is really just a vehicle for the dancing, cool pyrotechnics and numerous costume changes.

The women of the troupe get a bit of raw deal as they either have to dance the slow floaty numbers, which involves them moving their arms in a variety of flapping motions not generally used in traditional Irish dance, or they have to do sexy dancing, which at one point involves stripping down to black sparkly bikinis. With their bouffant hair and fixed smiles you would be forgiven for thinking they were trying out for Miss Ireland. As they are clearly very talented (and include Irish dance champions from around the world –another fact), it seems a shame that they are wasted in this way.

The men have more chances to demonstrate their fancy footwork and the speed at which they dance is phenomenal (someone even counted the total number of taps in the show, 151,200 per performance – fact no.3). But of course it is the main man - James Keegan who gets to show off the most and his skills are awarded with huge applause after every number.

Most people that go to Lord of the Dance probably enjoy the special effects but are there primarily for the dancing.  There seems a lot of filling added to make a full-length show, but with every performance still ending with shouts for more, Michael Flatley certainly knows what he’s doing - and if the audience love it - who am I to argue?

- Joanna Ing



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