Being more enthusiast than expert in dance, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Footstorm, the latest production by Prodijig, a company that specialises in Irish dancing. Using an energetic form of dance that blended traditional Irish dancing with tap dance and heavy bass beats, Prodijig presented a sci-fi spectacle of good versus evil, with a tribal twist.
Using a voice over at the start of each act, the show told the story of two societies that had simultaneously found a device that could travel through time, despite one being the present and the other a post-apocalyptic future. When the hero from our time goes through he encounters two tribes; the evil Mohans – as shown by or possibly due to their unkempt hair – and the civilised tribe, who had very neat hair and lovely tasselled clothing.
He meets and falls in love with this tribe’s princess after impressing her with his dance moves; all seems happy until the next morning when the evil tribe attack for no good reason other than that they are evil. Meanwhile the witch-doctor evil leader has time travelled through to the present day and mind controlled the hero’s friends, bringing one female companion back with him (we can only assume she is to be his evil queen.) All is resolved through dance, and an unexplained deus ex-machina in the form of a glowing device of unspecified power.
It might sound ridiculous, and that would probably be because it was ridiculous! Despite its overly simple plot and extreme plot holes, the company may have slightly over-reached itself narrative wise. Dance shows traditionally have no words and are reliant on the dancing itself to tell the story, which is ambitious when you are trying to tell a post-apocalyptic yarn set mainly in an imagined dystopic future.
Saying that, the dancing itself was spectacular; constantly energetic and created a buzz that ran right throughout the production, entertaining and completely original in style. The music similarly was a blend of traditional Irish music but played on synthesisers and with a heavy bass beat that went brilliantly with the dancing. The stage was mainly bare to allow for the dancing, but the screen at the back worked well as a way of setting the scene and telling the rest of the story when the dancing could not. It is a pity the graphics themselves were not of a better quality, as at times they were reminiscent of the old Age of Empires computer game.
The costumes fell back on the old sci-fi cliché of using monochrome and uniformity to determine if characters were ‘baddies’, and bright colours if they were ‘goodies’. This would have all been well and good if the mind-controlled bunch had not inexplicably changed into matching outfits that resembled fencing gear.
All in all Footstorm made for a fun and original night out that kept the audience entertained, though may appeal more to dance lovers than ordinary theatre fans.