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Theatre/Dance Review (LA): Riverdance at the Pantages Theatre

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Riverdance, celebrating celebrates Irish music, song, and dance, is doing a limited two-week engagement at the Pantages Theatre. These are the farewell performances of the North American Company so if you have never seen the show I suggest you get yourself down to the Pantages and join in the celebration.

Riverdance is more than the show you have seen bits and pieces or parodies of. There was a full presentation on television and a best-selling DVD. But Riverdance must be seen live to be fully appreciated. You must see the dedication these young dancers and musicians bring to the story. The story is thin, exploring the influence of Irish dance through the United States and ultimately the world. This is really brought home in a tremendous number called “Trading Taps” in which the Irish tappers, featuring principal dancer Marty Dowds with Brian Mullane and Marcus Maloney, challenge two black American tappers, led by the miraculous Jason E. Bernard. This is a wonderful display of tapping skills from both groups.

There is also a gorgeous Flamenco dancer and Russian dancers who show us their particular specialties in which you can see the Irish influence. The two lead Irish dancers, Marty Dowds and Mellissa Convery, brilliantly execute the complex dance moves.

Originally conceived and choreographed by Michael Flatley (and others), the show has been lovingly recreated by director John McColgan. The set by Robert Ballagh and the lighting by Rupert Murray remain the same. The costumes, a bit worse for wear, are by Joan Bergin. There is a small band featuring musical director Cathal Synnott on keyboards, with pipes and whistles by Declan Masterson, drums by Mark Alfred, sax by Daniel Dorrance, and a brilliant fiddler, Pat Mangan. The show has tremendous variety, showing us the best of Irish dance and the sweet sounds of Irish music.

Riverdance will play at the Pantages until Jan. 24th. Go see it!

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About Robert Machray

  • ben macken

    nice review