It is incredible to think it’s been 21 years since Riverdance swept onto stages worldwide and transformed the face of Irish dancing forever.
And that Lord of the Dance has been breaking box office records worldwide since its launch in 1996.
Both were the brainchild and footwork of Irish-American dancer, Michael Flatley, who holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest number of taps per second at 35, exceeding his previous world record of 28 taps per second set in 1989.
Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games opens with a futuristic hologram of Flatley’s son, Michael St James, trying to reach a huge skeleton clock to turn the hands. He cannot reach until Flatley’s hologram joins him, lifts him high and the hands strike midnight . . . when they disappear in a puff of smoke and the show opens with an incredible cinematic backdrop sending out sparklers and welcoming a solo dancer/gymnast called the Little Spirit onto the stage.
The well-known childhood hymn, Lord of the Dance, echoes throughout the dynamic show, which has you hooked from that first tick of the clock and way past the hugely deserved encore and standing ovation.
From the gymnastic flautist tumbling and flipping all over the stage to the ensemble dances featuring svelte women dancers kicking their legs so high it’s unbelievable to armies of male dancers dressed in sci-fi outfits with flashing lights, each dance is mesmerising.
But when Morgan Comer, who was Lord of the Dance in the performance we attended, danced onto the stage he was simply electrifying. His stage presence was incredible and he shone out with a relaxed and hugely confident style of dancing that only a multi-champion winner exudes.
Tom Cunningham dances the Dark Lord, who tries to steal the Lord of the Dance’s ability and status from him by using dirty tactics, including a femme fatale dark lady who combines Irish dance moves with sexy ones in a bid to lead him into temptation.
He is protected by the forces of good though and the women ensemble and a good lady who dance like nymphs to backdrops of waterfalls and unicorns running through fields.
The music throughout is foot-tapping and hand-clapping with the bodhran and fiddles providing a catchy soundtrack, combined with haunting and melodic songs so typically lovely of Irish music. It calls to my soul and Irish roots...I just wish I’d listened to my dad who was desperate for me to take up Irish dancing when I was a child back when it wasn’t cool.
Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games is incredible and it’s little wonder there are matinee and evening performances being staged all this week at Milton Keynes Theatre. It is quite simply one of those shows you could see over and over again without being bored and it’s easy to see why it remains the most popular dance show onstage ever.
Go see it while you’ve got the chance.
Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games at Milton Keynes Theatre until Sunday, April 26