Toe Tapping Stuff
If a quiet evening’s subtle entertainment is what you’re looking for, don’t go and see Tap Dogs… The toe-tapping Aussie show is back in London after debuting over two decades ago at the Sydney Festival in 1995 – and quiet is one thing it is not.
If on the other hand, you like your dancing loud, fast and super-slick, this high energy show might be just your thing. The sound of six tap dancers’ metal tap plates on metal surfaces will get your own energy flowing and if that’s not enough there’s some wild rock drumming to turn the volume and excitement levels up to the max.
The show may be unashamedly crowd-pleasing, but the talent of the six male tap dancers is never in question. They are rehearsed to perfection, never missing a single beat; one immaculately timed number shows off their skills most enjoyably when six basketballs are bounced, thrown and caught in perfect, pleasing rhythm.
There’s a strong testosterone vibe here, with the dancers all looking reliably like your stereo-typical aussie blokes, men who couldn’t get any more manly, wearing their rugged gear, hanging out on their macho construction site set. Even the less macho one really wants to be one of the guys.
Creator Dein Perry has really pushed this juxtaposition of ‘blokeyness’ with the lightness of foot that comes with great tap dancing and that may be where the show’s enduring and wide-reaching appeal lies. But for me, some of the more enjoyable parts of the show were the subtler, quieter moments which let the dancing (rather than the ropes, the rigs or the roar of the drums) shine through – a lovely finger-clicking number that referenced the classic fifties numbers of Fred Astaire et al was a nice touch.
All in all, a fun show which despite feeling slightly dated had the crowd whooping, cheering and chuckling along with our fancy-footed construction site heroes.
Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs is on at the Peacock Theatre, Sadlers Wells until 10 November 2018.