Hofesh Shechter – Barbicans

Sadler’s Well’s theatre, home to dance in London and for one week late September it is also home to Hofesh Shechter Company as they showcase a trilogy exposing different takes on intimacy, passion and the banality of love.

The opening piece ‘The Barbicans in Love’ reveals the six dancers in their most vulnerable and innocent form. Dressed all in white, they move simultaneously to an eclectic score of classic music and an electronic voice over interview between Hofesh himself and an intimidating interviewer. The conversation questions Hofesh’s take on love and its simplicity. The dancers are a unit of accuracy; they glide through the space as one moving in Shechter’s signature hunched shoulder posture and grounded movements.

However innocence is soon forgotten as the second piece begins, ‘tHE bAD’. Splattered with violent outpours of frustration from the dancers to dubstep music, this piece creates a very chaotic environment. The five dancers dressed in gold cat suits seem awkward and obstructive by the notions of love.  The sporadic structure connotes that of a confused mind. Which coincidently ties in nicely with the title ‘tHE bAD’ (read the capitals!).

The third and final piece is called ‘Two Completely Different Angles of the Same F***ing Thing’. A duet between Bruno Guillore and Winifred Burnet-Smith, this piece seems very personal and intimate. The two dancers share passionate embraces and mimic each other’s movements showing empathy for one another.

The work comes to an end as Hofesh’s voice is heard once again and all the dancers come on stage to join the duet. They form a chorus of unity, a reminder of the frustration, innocence, and passion bought by love.

For more information visit www.hofesh.co.uk

Thursday 1st October 2015 – Author – I.P. Dincwear Dancewear Team.

Richard Alston Dance Company “Alston At Home” The Place.

Celebrating their 20th Birthday Richard Alston Company present ‘Alston at Homeat The Place, the same venue where it all started with their very first opening show in 1994.

The show opens with a world premiere  ‘Opening Gambit’, choreographed by Martin Lawrance who is also celebrating 20 years with the company! Lawrance describes this piece as his birthday present to the company saying ‘I used to love it when Richard created movement on me that flew around the space. I felt so free and abandoned – each performance and venue being a new territory/stamping ground! 20 years later I feel I have returned home with this piece’. The dancers resonate Lawrance’s wish to recreate the freedom he felt on stage when he danced for the company. Their movement is buoyant, carefree, and joyful. A fantastic opening to the show.tn-mazur-liam-riddick-jonathan-goddard-planted_620

The second piece to take to the stage is a duet ‘Brisk Singing’, originally made by Alston in 1997. It is danced by Maeve McEwen and Michael Parmelee, These dancers are students from the University of Michigan where the piece was revived this spring. The duet speaks love, and bears similarity to Romeo and Juliet through the Shakespearian costume and romantic gestures. The duet is danced beautifully and encapsulates the audience with its delicate qualities.

The evening carries on with four more intriguing dance works, ‘Rasengan’ by Ihsaan de Banya, ‘Unease…’ by Joseph Toonga, and ‘Mazur’ a duet choreographed by Alston and danced by two male dancers.  This is another world premiere in the show, and has the addition of a live pianist on stage with the dancers. It is a playful piece described as a dance of two friends sharing what they love and what they feel they have lost.

The final ending to the show is with Alston’s ‘Overdrive’ originally created in 2003. Set to Terry Riley’s score the dancers compliment the quick-witted music echoing with nippy footwork and a bright presence. They flood the stage with a sea of grey and coral pink costumes cleverly designed by Jeanna Spaziani.

Jennifer Hayes performance throughout the whole show is mesmerising and eye catching. A beautiful dynamic dancer who is a picture of joy and positive energy on stage. This was a jam-packed evening of dance highlighting the very best of the Richard Alston Company and proof as to why the company have been so successful over the past 20 years. Here’s to the next 20!

Thursday 11th June 2015 – Author – I.P. Dincwear Dancewear Team.

Matthew Bourne’s “The Car Man”

Suspense, lust, and passion are the first three words that spring to mind when describing  Matthew Bourne’s dance-tragedy The Car Man, a re imagined story of Bizet’s Carmen set to the same desirable score. Bourne’s version of this production first premiered in 2000 and 15 years on it is still as scandalous and impressive now as it was then, with audiences at the New Wimbledon Theatre pouring in to watch it on its current UK tour. It is an original story set in 1960’s America, in a rural Italian-American town ironically named ‘Harmony’. Bourne explains ‘ I was keen to create a “dance thriller”, full of plot twists and suspense. You can’t do that with a story people already know!”

The action takes place in a car mechanics garage located next to what can be imagined as the only bar for miles and where every 20-something in the neighbourhood hangs out.  The girls are dressed in capri trousers and tight sweet heart neck tops and the men in grubby jeans, converse and white t-shirts bearing some similarity to the T-Birds in the film Grease. This youth dominant community has its order disrupted when a new mechanic ‘Luca’, played by Christopher Trenfield , arrives in town to work at the garage. His charm and good looks catch the eye of most women in the gang including the garage owners wife ‘Lana’, played by Zizi Strallen, who flirts her way into a passionate love affair with Luca resulting in a tragic ending of murder and betrayal.

Strallen’s portrayal of the stunning, seductive ‘but doesn’t she know it’ Lana steals the show. Strallen’s big brown eyes tell the story, they portray such expression and focus to her character that guide the audience through her emotional journey from flirtatious barmaid to a malicious deceiver who’s  thought out actions put an innocent man in prison. Strallen dances with such grace and vigour that leaves the audience in awe of her impressively high kicks and sultry hip gestures.

The Car Man

Matthew Bourne’s internationally acclaimed dance thriller was first seen in 2000, winning the Evening Standard Award for ‘Musical Event of the Year’.

Bourne is a genius, an icon of British dance today and hailed as the UK’s most popular and successful choreographer /director. His talents lie in complementing  gesture and expression with illustrating music to tell a captivating story. Such can be seen in The Car Man. Bizet’s powerful score layered with Bourne’s expressive and emotive choreography leaves the viewer so entrapped in the storyline it is easy to forget you are sat in a theatre watching a dance performance.

Matthew Bourne’s “The Car Man” will be touring the UK until August 2015. For tickets and more information on the show visit “new-adventures

New Wimbledon Theatre, April 15th, 2015

Wednesday 22nd April 2015 – Author – I.P. Dincwear Team.

Candoco Dance Company & Jerome Bel “The Show Must Go On”.

Its 7.30pm on Saturday 21st March 2015 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the stewards usher the last few stragglers into their seats and the usual background murmur of anticipation that fills a theatre is brought to silence as the lights go down and ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story starts playing. The audience acknowledge their code of conduct; they’re to be silent and engage. Accepting the first track as the ‘overture’ the audience are relaxed and dreamy as they honour their role of no responsibility but to watch, and as the track comes to an end there is a feeling of expectation for the show to properly begin. But a rustle from the front of the auditorium disrupts this mood as a DJ takes out a CD and replaces it with another one. He is not rushed and does it in his own time. All eyes are on him and eventually ‘Let the sun shine in’ from the musical ‘Hair’ kicks in and a sigh of relief is felt from the audience as they return to being anonymous once again …or so they think!

Candoco Company present a restaging of Jerome Bel’s ‘The Show Must Go On’ with a cast of 20 amateur and professional performers. The work challenges an audience’s acceptation of theatre and expectation of themselves. As an audience member you accept anonymity in a theatre and find contentment in being lost in the world on stage, but Bel turns this ideal on its head and makes the audience question their social position.

Bel presents a soundtrack of 18 popular songs literally. The Macarena is danced as you would see it at a wedding, haphazard and sometimes out of time, re creating a memory most can relate to and enjoy watching with nostalgia. Stings ‘I’ll be watching you’   takes the lyrics as they are and sees the performers stare out to the audience for the entirety of the track as the house lights are bought up seeing the traditional position of audience and performer reversed.

The Show Must Go On

Candoco Dance Company & Jerome Bel “The Show Must Go On”.

Bel says ‘The audience should recognise themselves on stage’ and he does this by making the content recognisable. It is presented in a very simple form, just a cd player, a blank stage, a collection of cliché music, and a cast of relatable people.  But it is the integrity, commitment and feelings provoked by this equation of recognition that evokes genius and is why Candoco and Bel deserved the standing ovation they got from a packed out Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

For more information on the rest of the tour visit www.candoco.co.uk

Sadlers Wells Theatre, Saturday 21st March 2015

Saturday 21st March 2015 – Author – I.P. Dincwear Team.

Rasta Thomas’ Dance Company in Romeo and Juliet

It’s the greatest love story of all time, William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet. Always a popular story for dance companies to interpret due to the passion and tragedy of the narrative and now Rasta Thomas adds himself to that list through his eclectic take on the classic.

The diverse nature of the work is a theme that runs throughout. It is not set in any same time period. Costumes vary from the 1600’s to modern day and the work prides itself on fusing ballet with hiphop. We have seen this done before by the likes of ENB and Flawless collaborating in 2012 with Against Time and Swan Lake Reloaded in 2013 at the London Coliseum.  But what sets Adrienne Canternas choreography aside from these past attempts is the cast of multi talented dancers who are just at ease in a classical pas de deux as they are locking and popping. At no point do you ever feel awkward watching the dancers. They give justice to every dance style performed and leave you amazed at the versatility of their talent.

The work starts by introducing each character using a video projection at each dancers entrance. There is a clear understanding of gangs between the Montagues and Capulets. The Montagues are dressed in loose and pale1980’s inspired outfits where as the Capulets are dressed head to toe in biker gear, including skintight leopard print leggings! The state-of-the-art architectural lighting adds a real va-va-voom to the work and is used to guide the audience on the stories emotional rollercoaster. This ease in storytelling is perfect for a Shakespeare novice or a younger audience member who is new to the story.
Each scene is clearly defined through change of music and projection however the flow from scene to scene often felt jolted and forced with tracks ending abruptly. The fusion of music to reflect the fusion of dance styles is a great idea but rather than using classical and contemporary music mixes, each track is used in its singular form and this disrupted the continuity of the work.

Romeo and Juliet: CAREFULLY constructed to suit all tastes

Romeo and Juliet: CAREFULLY constructed to suit all tastes

The stage transitions may not have been flawless but Adrienne Canternas performance of Juliet certainly was. The choreographer/performer’s commitment to the role was so believable. She is convincing as a young naive girl following her heart over her head. Not only was her acting superb but also, as a dancer, she is mesmerizing with immaculate versatility switching from classical to hiphop continuously in many scenes.
The story of Romeo and Juliet is portrayed in a simplistic manner but will leave you in awe of the talent on stage. A great show for all the family to enjoy.

15th March 2015: Author – I.P. Dincwear Team

FLASH MOB – Where Dance Worlds Collide

Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre

It was very interesting to watch “Flash Mob” as the Producers, Martin and Marina Blore, have brought together many of the top acts from the TV Dance Shows and combined them, and the styles of dance they represent, into a single Show.  We attempted to do this with “Revolution”, our hit West End Show, in the belief that by fusing two or more styles of dance together, you create the conditions for something new to appear – something which is more than the sum of the parts.  The “Flash Mob” is the bringing together of the various dancers and their dance styles.  It is the beginning of the creative process.

There is a loose “boy meets girl” storyline to the Show which is highlighted by the use of text messaging deployed above the stage.  But the real interest for me is watching these top performers in their own dance style, and then how these dancers adapt their style to interact with the other dancers and their styles.  In “Revolution” we thought this would be the way dancers and dance shows would evolve and in the process get better and more entertaining.  For this evolution to work, you need excellent and creative dancers, and “Flash Mob” has certainly assembled a top-class “Mob”.

The first thing you really notice is that Kevin Clifton – or “Kevin from Grimsby” – of “Strictly Come Dancing” fame is an exceptional dancer.  Kevin is the type of person that if you bought him a tennis racquet would probably win Wimbledon!  I have seen him in “Burn the Floor” and “Dirty Dancing” and he is just superb at everything (and looks about 10 years younger than he does on TV!).  Kevin is supported by his regular dance partner, Karen Hauer, who is likewise comfortable with any style of dance.  Kevin and Karen effectively anchor the Show.

Flawless” were described by Simon Cowell as “one of the greatest acts I have ever seen”.  They have appeared in films such as “Streetdance 3D” and are excellent in “Flash Mob”.  As a collection of individual dancers they alone are worth the price of a ticket.  Funnily enough, I didn’t think they were “flawless” in some of the collective numbers – they could have been slightly tighter as a unit and interacted more with the other dance styles.  However the performance of the individual dancers is still, at times, breathtaking.  Throughout the Show, Tommy Franzen injects some great physical humour, particularly in his use of various props, much in the style of Jackie Chan in his comedy/martial art films.  (Amusingly, the day after I watched the Show I saw Tommy “like” Jackie Chan on Facebook!).  Tommy is a respected figure in the professional dance world and it is always a pleasure to watch him perform.  He is exceptionally talented at making very difficult moves look easy and is extremely adaptable.

The final two acts in the “Flash Mob”,  “Alleviate” and “Brosena”, made an excellent attempt to interact with the other dancers in the Show, thereby laying a foundation to progress – or evolve – their own particular dance styles.  “Alleviate”, from a contemporary/commercial perspective. have mastered the art of telling a story through movement.  Nicolette Whitley is a beautiful communicator and her partner, Renako McDonald, is wonderfully expressive.  “Brosena” bring their Irish dancing talent into the mix and seem to absorb various elements from the other dancers and styles as the Show progresses.  In “Revolution” the closest we got to achieving an evolution of dance, in my opinion, was when fusing the tap of Adam Garcia with the hip-hop of Tobias Mead and Lizzie Gough.  Combined with some extraordinary special lighting effects, the resulting scene appeared to be so much more than just the sum of the parts – an evolution of a tap dancer mixing it with two hip-hop stars to create something spectacular and new.  ( Have a look at our trailer for “Revolution” )

Flash Mob” is an excellent Show with first-class dancers who work together to create something new and entertaining to watch.  With the variety and interaction of the dance styles on offer, the audience never gets bored.  In fact the Show received a well-deserved standing ovation!  This Show offers more evidence of the explosive growth being experienced in the world of dance.  Dincwear has predicted for a while that top dancers will soon gain the sort of recognition currently given to rock stars and footballers.  As Renako says in the Programme:  “The TV Shows have widened the appreciation for dance and given it a platform to create household names”.  He is correct – and I would guess that a couple of those names are in this Show!

Flash Mob (Photos credited to "Dave Nelson")

Flash Mob (Photos credited to “Dave Nelson”)

 31st May 2014 The Dincwear Team.



I was lucky enough to see Michael Jackson perform at Wembley in 1988 and it remains the best £30 I have ever spent – I kept the ticket!  Whatever you may think of Michael Jackson the person, Michael Jackson the performer was one of the greatest – if not the greatest – entertainers of all time.  His songs are now classics and continue to sell in their millions, plus his dancing was just indescribable – it really had to be seen to be believed.  Michael Jackson was so fast, so precise and so innovative that it seemed that you were watching something a little bit unreal.  The best example of this is, of course, his “Moonwalk”, where he literally appears to be walking forwards but is actually moving backwards.  As John Peel, the respected music critic, wrote of the show:  “I do not expect it to be equalled in my lifetime”.  (The ‘Observer’, 17/7/88).  I also doubt that I will see anything better than “Bad” – ever.

So it was with some trepidation that I went to see “Thriller” at the Lyric Theatre in the West End.  Sensibly, the Show does not provide any type of story or narrative, it simply gives the audience exactly what they came to see:  the songs and dance of Michael Jackson.  It is roughly in chronological order, especially at the beginning, starting out with the Jackson Five – and an excellent Owen Mugawa playing the young Michael – through to “Thriller” and “Invincible”.  Like the Michael Jackson Show at Wembley, “Thriller” is less a sequence of songs than a series of “scenes” – often with numbers being expertly worked together.  Each “scene” would also display a variety of the amazing costumes associated with the songs in that “scene” (often taken from the music videos).  Finally the performance was supported with an excellent, if somewhat small, live band.

The singers in the Show, fronted by Zoe Birkett, were tremendous and very hard working.  (I can tell the difference between a good and a bad singer, but cannot really distinguish, except in rare cases, between a good and a great singer…).  I knew that Zoe Birkett was a good singer from the various Shows I have seen her perform in.  What did surprise me, however, is that Zoe is also quite a decent dancer.  She certainly did not look out of place against the professional dancers supporting her.  And throughout the Show Zoe brought a huge amount of sparkle and enthusiasm to the numbers she performed.

In a top West End Show such as “Thriller”, which is in its 11th year, the dancers have to be first class or they will not be in the Show long.  The dancers were indeed excellent.  None of them can actually dance with the genius of Michael Jackson (the only person who I have seen “Moonwalk” like Jackson was Jeffrey Daniels from Shalamar) – but no one would realistically expect that.  Although not listed in the programme I recognized one of the dancers as Lauren Gore.  Lauren is one of the best female tap dancers in the Country and although there is no tap required in “Thriller”, it was great to watch a top class dancer really enjoying herself.  (Lauren was an original member of the amazing “TapCorps”). Take a look at TapCorps!

The other dancer that really impressed me was Austyn Farrell.  I had heard about Austyn from his student days at the Leicester College of Performing Arts (LCPA), where he combined a lot of potential with even more character.  This really comes across on the stage.  He is incredibly expressive and I think Austyn would have been very happy to stay in the limelight for another hour or so!  My favourite “Scene” of the evening, which began with “On the Floor” saw both Lauren and Austyn wearing Dincwear – style costumes, Lauren displaying a Kylie-type tunic with Austyn in a sparkling ‘muscle-back’ top.

It all added up to a tremendous evening of entertainment and received a standing ovation from the very full and enthusiastic audience.  My only criticism of the Show (apart from a gin and tonic costing £10 at the bar!) is that right from the beginning the cast gets the crowd involved in clapping along.  Now I am a boy who simply cannot multi-task.  I can either clap along (and concentrate on getting that right) or I can watch the Show.  For some of us it is impossible to do both!  And for that I received a frown from the multi-talented Miss Birkett!

LCPA students wearing Dincwear

The Students of the LCPA, all wearing our Dincwear clothing, will be looking to follow their alumni Austyn into the West End.”

 16th April 2014 The Dincwear Team.


“An Evening With Pasha and Katya”

Lyric Theatre – 7th April 2014

It is beginning!

As our regular followers will acknowledge, Dincwear has been arguing for a while that “Dance” is about to see a phenomenal rise in its popularity, with the very top dancers gaining the sort of recognition that we presently associate with footballers and pop stars etc.  Last week we reviewed the performance of one such example, Savion Glover, perhaps the first modern superstar of tap dancing.  This week we are reviewing the success that is “Strictly Come Dancing”.  Pasha and Katya, two of the shows professionals, plus four other top professional dancers associated with the Show (either in the UK or another Country), brought us an “Evening of Strictly” at the Lyric Theatre in London.

As it is designed to be a touring show, visiting 72 different places in the UK, the “set” was very minimal.  But the Show brought the amazing “Strictly” costumes, the announcer (the excellent Mike Newman) and of course the dance routines that we expect from “Strictly”.  It also added a few new features:  there was a Question and Answer session with the stars, a couple of very entertaining routines by the young ladies of the local “Finch Stage School” and even a bit of audience participation, with 3 ladies being invited to dance onstage with Pasha and then ‘judged’ by the applause of the audience.

And of course it was all performed in a first-class manner.  Even though I am a devoted follower of “Strictly”, I still get my Pasadobles mixed up with my Tangos, etc., but all the routines were executed as you would expect, with precision, flair and passion.  The four professional dancers who joined Pasha and Katya, (Marcella Solimeo, Ryan Hammond, James Wilson and Jasmine Takacs) were fantastic and allowed for more complex “group” routines.  In fact Dincwear has worked with the wonderful Jasmine Takacs when we launched at the “Clothes Show” in 2011.(View Jasmine with the Dincwear Dance Corps at the “Clothes Show” 2011).

I have two reflections to make on the evening.  First, it was so good that I think the audience would have appreciated a couple of extra dance numbers (the performance finished at 9:45 p.m.).  Maybe this is slightly unfair, but 2 nights prior to this I had watched Savion Glover tap dance frenetically for 90 minutes with only two brief pauses.  And I know that the dancers are capable of this.  (Jasmine Takacs danced 5/6 shows a day for 6 straight days at the “Clothes Show”, and every evening she would also go and workout for 2 hours at the Arden Hotel Gym with “Trojan” from the Gladiators!)  But of course with 72 shows to perform, I guess that they are pacing themselves…..

My second and related observation is that the stars are dancing well “within themselves”.  They are capable of even more complex routines.  This was illustrated with Pasha’s 10 second burst of solo brilliance to Ricky Martin’s “Vida Loco” that almost caused the huge number of Pasha fans (boys and girls!) to pass out!  (And throughout the whole show he doesn’t even sweat?!).  Again, I appreciate the demands of such a long tour, but the fans would have loved a bit more ….

My only outright criticism is that they didn’t select to answer my question in the Q&A:  If Pasha and Rachel Riley had been given just one more week, was Rachel improving so quickly that she could have won “Strictly” this year?!  But it was just a wonderful evening’s entertainment and I sense, that Pasha in particular, may be one of the first “Superstars of Dance” that we have been predicting in our regular Dincwear blogs.  We will leave you with a picture of Pasha, Ryan and James relaxing in their Dincwear muscle back tops.

Pasha, Ryan and James relaxing in their Dincwear

Pasha, Ryan and James relaxing in their Dincwear

 7th April 2014 The Dincwear Team.


Savion Glover – Sole Sanctuary at Sadlers Wells,

When we put on our hit West End Dance Show “Revolution”, which featured the best UK dancers in Tap, Hip-hop, and Contemporary dance, it was the first time I had seen tap dancing live on Stage (Watch the “Revolution” Trailer“) The Tap stars of “Revolution” were Adam Garcia and Douglas Mills, who had been the lead dancers in the International Phenomenon “Tap Dogs”.  Watching Adam and Douglas rehearse and perform “Revolution”, I completely fell in love with tap dancing.  And when you fall in love with tap dancing you keep hearing one name over and over again – Savion Glover.

Savion Glover is the genius of Tap.  A child prodigy from New Jersey who had trained and danced with many of the greats of American Tap – such as Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr, and Lon Chaney to name but a few.  I had spent hours watching amazing clips of Glover dancing on Youtube and this was the chance to see the legend perform live at Sadlers Wells.

The “set” was minimal, with just a large wooden platform a couple of inches high in the middle of the Stage and a few pictures of his illustrious mentors hanging in the background (the “Spirits Known”).  And there was Savion Glover, with his distinctive dreadlocked hair and baggy pale top and trousers (he is so thin that when he momentarily stood in front of the spotlight, I thought you could actually see through him!).

Glover began with a shuffle around the outer edges of his platform, almost seeming to warm up for what was to come.  Then he began!  It is impossible to accurately describe the moves that Glover performed, he can do things with his feet that I simply did not believe were possible – this man taps on tip-toe!  He uses every part of the shoe and literally creates music with his feet.  This is a crucial point, for most of the performance there is no musical accompaniment.  Glover is creating his own music to highlight his movement – the movement becomes the music.

After a time Glover was joined on Stage by Marshall Davis Jr.  From this point any musical accompaniment was no longer needed.  The two dancers took turns leading, then working together, to produce a masterpiece of movement and music.  This is where you benefit from actually being present to watch and listen.  Their feet make ever-changing sounds that perfectly complement one another – a symphony of sound.  Until then I had not understood Glover’s comment that “it really is all about the music”, but now I think I do.

I have two reflections on the performance from a commercial rather than a purist point of view (by “commercial” I mean putting on a Show that the general public, rather than the Savion Glover disciple, would want to come and watch/listen to).

First, what Glover is doing, the genius he is producing, could be described as “over-tap” – it is beyond normal tap dancing in a way that any genius in his field is so far ahead of everyone else that he risks being “inexplicable” to ordinary people thus gaining an almost mystical/religious dimension.  (And Glover certainly plays on this.  There is a person meditating on Stage throughout the performance and the title of the piece itself has mystical/religious implications).  I appreciate that what Glover and Marshall were doing was constantly changing, but these changes (to my ordinary eye and ear) were so minimal that it often seemed repetitive – doing the same thing over and over again.

My second observation also highlights one of the phenomenal aspects of the man.  Glover performs for 90 minutes with only two 5 minute “breaks” where he stands watching his partner continue the rhythm on his own.  This is an amazing achievement in itself.  But I wondered if it would have been better for him (and the audience) to have taken a few breaks.  I kept thinking:  “What would he be able to do if he wasn’t exhausted?!”  And his most jaw-dropping moves seemed to come after each break.  But perhaps Glover is looking to achieve for his followers that religious “high” which could be ruined by any interruption….

The aforementioned Douglas Mills, the Tap star of “Revolution” and “Tap Dogs” has created a more commercial Tap venture called Tap Corps (Have a look at “Tap Corps” in action)  In contrast to Glover, “Tap Corps” involves a number of dancers, male and female, performing to various popular tracks in a highly choreographed fashion.  The dancers are not as exceptional as Glover (that would be impossible) and there is no mystical/religious undertone.  But it is far more entertaining and indeed explicable to the average dance enthusiast such as myself.

Saturday 5th April 2014 The Dincwear Team.



The theme of “Hairspray” is quite simple:  Just because people are different (size or colour) doesn’t mean you have to treat them differently – you should treat everyone the same.  Set in 1962, Tracey, played by Rebecca Craven, first overcomes her size to become a dancer on a hit TV show, and then uses her new-found popularity to undermine the segregation of black and white dancers.  A simple tale – but it was performed brilliantly.

The dancers and singers (often both) were first-class.  With everyone playing their role so well, it is almost unfair to pick out individual contributions.  But I have to say that Rebecca Craven as Tracey was outstanding.  To my mind, from now on Rebecca will simply be “Tracey Turnblad”!  Her breathless depiction of Tracey meeting her first boyfriend was particularly acute.  Zizi Strallen actually had me in stitches laughing, and not just because she had many of the best lines.  What most of the audience may be unaware of is that Zizi is one of the top dancers in the Country (have a look at this video clip).  To watch her perform as Penny, complete with geeky dance moves (she reminded me of our boss dancing at the Christmas party!) and never coming out of character – even in the Finale – must have been nearly impossible.  Yet Zizi did it so well it took us a moment to actually recognise her.

In fact my only ‘criticism’ of the Show was that there was so much going on.  When Tracey first dances on television while Penny watches at home, both performances are hilarious – and I didn’t know which one to focus on.  Mind you, that is just an excellent reason for going to see the show again.  Oh, and one other criticism, I heard the lady on my left complain to her husband about the use of Hairspray aerosols – ‘what about the ozone layer?!’  Well of course the ozone layer was not a problem in 1962!  This is how much the Show brings you into it.

David Witts is impossibly good looking as Link Larkin, Tracey’s first love, and the singers (led by Cleopatra Joseph) would be worth the price of a ticket on their own.  You have a priceless comedy double-act in John Burr and Damian Williams as Tracey’s parents (you have to have seen it!).  A special mention to Tyrone Huntley as Seaweed.  I simply believed everything that he said.  And you could sense this guy could really dance, if just given the chance.  The orchestra were really on point, perhaps a little hidden away, and finally Callum Train perfectly embodied the progressive mindset of Corney Collins.

Quite rightly, there was a standing ovation from the audience – and this was a Wednesday matinee.  I enjoyed it more than the West End Production at the Shaftesbury Theatre a few years ago – and I really enjoyed that.

I would just like to mention that we were so impressed by the Curve Theatre.  I had never been there before and was aware of it only through its association with Drew McOnie, the future superstar of British Musical Theatre (watch his Show ‘Drunk’ – I did, twice!).  But the Curve has been so well designed, that with Productions such as ‘Drunk’ and ‘Hairspray’, Leicester now has its own West End Theatre.

28th March 2014 By The Dincwear Team.