Director and Choreographer: Michael Flatley
Composer: Gerard Fahy
25 years ago Michael Flatley created a little show called Lord of the Dance at the Point Theatre in Dublin, following his departure from Riverdance. Now, in 2022, the show finds itself at the City Hall in Sheffield on a world tour. In its 25 year history, the show has played 56 countries and has been seen by over 50 million people.
To say the show has a plot might be an overstatement, but there is a loose narrative with some fantastic characters to tie the impressive dance pieces together. Add to this some fiddle-playing sequences and a stunning singer and Lord of the Dance is a treat to the eyes and ears.
Gerard Fahy’s original score is beautiful and surprisingly varied. Despite most of it being pre-recorded tracks, it never feels lacking, although sometimes the pre-recording tap tracks are unnervingly loud. Adrian Gwillyn and Jeanne Spaziani design the costumes which are wonderfully creative. They combine the mystical nature of the show’s setting with traditional Celtic dress perfectly. The stunning projections add to this, showing the audience the world we are in whilst not distracting too much from the dance. Michael Flatley’s choreography is, as one would expect, phenomenal. This reviewer has never such precise choreography delivered by a very physically fit dance troupe.
Matt Smith leads the cast as the Lord of the Dance. He is a great leading man, filled with charisma and huge amounts of energy. He fills the shoes of Flatley himself admirably and has the audience in the palm of his hands. Connor Smyth is a fantastic villain to the piece as the Dark Lord. He is equally energetic and perfectly menacing and frightening.
Niamh Shevlin gives a lovely performance as Saoirse, leading some of the ensemble numbers very well. Andrea Papp Kren is great opposite her as Morrighan the Temptress. Her characterisation is great and the tension between Kren and Shevlin on stage is fun to watch. Cassidy Ludwig is a highlight of the show as Little Spirit. Despite not dancing as much as some of the other performers, her characterisation and facial expressions are amazing. The audience loves every moment she has on stage.
Giada Costenaro and Aisling Sage play the fiddles, which adds to the piece. They impressively combine their musical skills with their movement ability. Celyn Cartwright completes the cast as Erin the Goddess who sings various songs scattered throughout the show. Her voice is sublime and a delight to listen to, although sometimes she gets a little overpowered by the backing tracks.
Lord of the Dance is a very strong piece of dance theatre and is fantastic fun. Whilst some moments are a little raunchy, so it may not be suitable for the youngest children, this is a show that the whole family would enjoy.
Runs until 15th June 2022, before touring worldwide.