Review: The Lord of the Dance @ The London Palladium

Throw together some extraordinary musicians, one fantastic singer and an ensemble of Irish dancers fueled with talent and fiery sex appeal, and you will have what I saw at the London Palladium on Saturday 13th of September. Michael Flatley’s last West End performance in ‘The Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games’ promised to be a spectacle, and it certainly delivered. From sensual violinists to dancing robots, the show had something to appeal to and impress everyone.

Flatley’s ‘Dangerous Games’ added a new fantastical element to Irish dancing

The classic battle between Good and Evil is carefully executed through the means of dance, engrossing the audience into a world of passion and fear. The story follows The Little Spirit, beautifully performed by Alice Upcott, who accompanies the Lord of the Dance, played admirably by Morgan Comer, on his journey to defend himself and his people against the Dark Lord, Tom Cunningham. From the first dance number I was completely absorbed and overwhelmed by the sheer array of talent of a 40-strong cast. Flatley’s ‘Dangerous Games’ added a new fantastical element to Irish dancing, abolishing any doubts that it is a dated style of dance, and the combination of traditional Irish dancing with modern twists was something really enjoyable.

Both principles, The Lord and The Dark Lord, captivated the audience, displaying perfect precision and possibly the most impressive dancing I have ever seen. Morgan Comer, who is no stranger to success, having won the Irish Dancing World Championships in 2010, had the audience hanging on to his every move, his stage presence setting the show alight almost as much as his hypnotic footwork. Perhaps the most impressive routine of the show was the fight scene between Comer and Cunningham, convincingly portrayed by a dance off; both dancers had an extraordinary wealth of talent, missing not a single beat, and seemingly dancing with ease.

The talent of the musicians cannot go ignored

Of course no general would be anything special without his army, and the talent of the ensemble was certainly nothing to be scoffed at. Both the male and female ensembles were simply breath-taking; every single cast member offered a stunning performance, continuing to wow the audience throughout the entire show. As a dancer myself, I cannot fathom how a troupe of dancers so large can all manage to stay in sync, even with no music. There was not a weak member of the cast; each dancer did an admirable job of sustaining the reputation of the show being the most impressive dance show in the world.

Though the dancing was truly spectacular, the talent of the musicians cannot go ignored. Normally played by Nadine Coyle (ex. Girls Aloud), Erin the Goddess’s role was exquisitely sung by Rachael O’Connor, who at just seventeen can surely be expecting a successful career ahead of her. Fiddlers Giada Costenaro Cunningham and Valerie Gleeson charmed the audience during their musical numbers; it was pleasing to have whole numbers solely devoted to the musicians, who so often get overlooked when performing in the pit.

Flatley kept everyone on the edge of their seat, not making an appearance until the very end. But when he did, the audience were on their feet. At fifty six, the man still managed to cause an excitement beyond any other that I have witnessed in a theatre, and I was truly gutted when the performance was over. ‘Dangerous Games’ is touring in 2015, making an appearance at the Nottingham Theatre Royal from May 28-31, and I cannot recommend it enough. Dancer or not, this show is not something to be missed and is definitely worth every penny. Michael Flatley’s ‘Dangerous Games’ was a spectacle and a true privilege to witness.

Lucy Castle


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