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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Riverdance 25th Anniversary Show, at Margaret Court Arena and touring to Brisbane and Sydney - 100 minutes, plus interval

Scintillating and sensational. Riverdance is back and how!

 

It has been more than a decade since this Irish originated troupe last visited Australia (they toured five times between 1997 and 2012) and this is their 25th anniversary show.

First coming together for a seven-minute performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin in 1984, the following year Riverdance evolved into a full-scale production.

 

And, of course, since then, it has gone on to conquer the world. Riverdance has now been seen by more than 30 million people globally across six continents

 

The first half of the 100-minute plus interval silver jubilee show sets the scene.

 

The second half knocks it out of the park. It brings it home with highlight after brilliant and breathtaking highlight.

The show is broken into 18 scenes (nine in each half), against an evocative and alluring video backdrop (the visuals are spectacular), during which the mood frequently shifts.

 

Central to all is step dancing to die for – individually and collectively – fancy, frenetic footwork and not a toe out of place.  

 

Captivating Spanish and Russian influences add a truly international flavour to the show.

There is even an hilarious, good natured showdown between Irish dancers and street dancers (the latter being Kenji Igus and Jabu Graybeal), which will long live in my memory.

 

One can’t go past the rich musical tapestry in Riverdance, a combination of ear-pleasing, up-tempo Irish dance music and hauntingly beautiful folk music.

 

Composer Bill Whelan has crafted a mesmerising soundtrack.

 

And then there are the musos. Wow!

I have never seen a more talented drummer and percussionist than Musical Director Mark Alfred. He is rolled gold. Given a marathon workout, he just keeps on delivering.

 

Alfred is joined by an equally adept and enthusiastic fiddle player, Hayley Richardson.

 

That is not to overlook two gifted flautists, Cathal Croke on uilleann pipes and whistles, and Emma McPhilemy on saxophone.


Front and centre, too, are the pure vocals of the lead singer, backed by a melodic chorus.

The striking costuming starts with Irish greens and black leggings, but extends to pinks, blues and a tapestry of colour, glitter and glamour.

 

Riverdance begins and ends with a video tribute to those artistes that have gone before, those that made Riverdance the phenomenon that it is today.

 

What is the piece de resistance? That is easy. When the dancers are lined up across the stage at the end of Acts I and II and step dance in glorious unison.

 

Directed by John McColgan, this is one mighty slick show – energetic and electrifying – that thrills audiences and will continue to do so.

The broad smiles on the faces of the dancers and musicians speak volumes. If you are out for a good time, buy a ticket to see Riverdance’s 25th Anniversary Show.

 

 

It is playing at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne until Monday, 8th April.

 

It moves to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th April.

 

It finishes at Aware Super Theatre in Sydney, where it will play on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th April.

 

And, “yes”, there are matinee and evening shows.

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