Review: Tap Dogs (Mirvish)

Tap Dogs Royal Alex Theatre Toronto

Tap Dogs opened last night at the Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre; six men, 80 minutes of tap dancing, and not a hint of “Tea For Two”

Tap Dogs is high energy, muscular tap dancing performed by six men wearing everyday clothes and Blundstone boots with heavy taps. A lot of the show is performed without music other than the percussion of the dancers’ feet. It’s interesting because the show is lit like a rock concert and there’s a fair amount of stage smoke that would make you expect pounding rock music. At times there is but it’s actually pretty unnecessary, the feet provide all the music the show needs.

Those feet never stop. They move so fast they’re almost a blur as they pound out staccato rhythms. The show was originally conceived and performed in Australia in 1995 (hence the Blundstones). I think there was one Australian in last night’s cast.

The dancers build the set while they tap. they tap on scaffolding, on girders, through welding sparks, in water. (Beware the first two rows – you’ll get wet. Plastic ponchos are provided.) They compete with each other while they tap; they joke with each other while they tap. They are supposed to be normal guys at work on a construction site.

My friend Pat commented on how normal they looked and they do. They look like guys you could pass in the street.

There’s a real sense of comradery between the dancers. I know, it’s a show and they’re probably acting but it was great fun to watch.

It was fascinating to watch them sustain the rhythm with the sparks from metal cutters (I’m sure there’s an actual word for the tool), with flashlights, and with basketballs.

The show is noisy, energetic, and fun. We enjoyed it.

It’s a perfect family show so take the kids. don’t be surprised if they want tap dancing lessons after they see it.

Details:

Tap Dogs is Playing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King West) until September 30th, 2012
– Shows are at 8 pm Tuesday through Saturday and 7.30 pm pm on Sunday. There are 2 pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday
– Ticket prices range from $49.00 to $89.00 with $25.00 rush tickets for the first two rows on sale at the box office on the day of the performance
– Tickets are available online, by phone at (416) 872-1212/1-800-461-3333 or at the Box Office

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