I went through a phase years ago where the only video (yes, that long ago!) I'd watch was Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance. I just loved it. The dancing, the costumes, the music. I could never understand how the dancers moved so quickly, and they all seemed to be having an amazing time.
On Friday, I finally got my chance to see it on stage, and I fell in love all over again. Along with my mum, I went along to the Dominion Theatre at the show's penultimate performance before embarking on their European tour. It was my first experience of the Dominion. Such a beautiful theatre, ornately decorated, it has an almost TARDIS-like effect, it's facade not quite giving away just how spacious it is inside.
Having made our way to our seats (in the Freddie Mercury suite which made it just that bit cooler), we settled in and waited in anticipation.
The show started with a film, depicting River Dance's journey, from its inception, to the global monster it has become. It's incredible to conceive just how successful this show has been, and Flatley's dedication to making it a success shone through.
Unfortunately, he only appeared in this and a pre-recorded video of him dancing, but wow can he still move! His replacement for the role of the Lord was James Keegan, and an incredibly worthy one he was too. He had the right charm and charisma to carry the role, as well as being a fantastic dancer. The entire cast were brilliant, their energy was infectious and they quickly had the audience cheering them along. The story itself was a remake of the original - effectively the same story, but with the inclusion of new songs and some new choreography to freshen it up. It was lovely to see a story I've loved since I was a child played out in front of me, and personally I was really glad that they didn't change too much around.
Two violinists and a singer completed the line-up, performing whilst the dancers changed costumes (or were applying ice to their feet, if they were sensible). They certainly added to the performance, but there was a certain amount of watch-checking that came with them, everyone eager to continue watch the main event. The violinists, while undoubtedly talented, had very little to do with themselves, except strut around the stage a few times. The music was brilliant and did add to the feel of the show, but it did feel as though they could have cut down by a good few minutes. But again, this was an opportunity for the dancers to take a much needed break, so their inclusion was understandable.
The singer again felt like a distraction more than a cohesive part of the show. The songs always felt somewhat maudlin and sluggish, as they usually fell in after a particularly high-voltage dance number. Whilst her voice was good, her inclusion just didn't feel strong enough to compliment the show.
That aside, we had a fantastic time. A wonderful show, with a healthy dose of nostalgia for any long-time fan. The effort and dedication that is injected into this show shines through. If you find yourself in the right part of Europe over the next few months, try and catch it. Dates can be found here: http://www.lordofthedance.com/tour-dates/europe/.