Riverdance brings Irish dance fusion to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Riverdance opened at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre April 7 to a sell out crowd.

It's always a pleasant surprise to find a show that delivers so much more than expected. Such was the case for Riverdance.

The show opened with The Irish Dance Troup performing the high-spirited Reel Around the Sun. The artists moved from dance to song to solos back to groups building a story of the journey of the dance and the Irish.

Musicians flanked the dancers with Pat Mangan (fiddle) and Mark Alfred (percussion, drums, bodhran) stepping out onto centre stage to rally the crowd. Instruments ranged from saxophone to Uilleann pipes.

Highlighted were the flamenco solos by Marita Martinez-Rey, whose choreography was impecable, and the tap duo of Dewitt Fleming Jr. and Michael E. Wood who enchanted the audience with their fluidity and technique as they made something extremely difficult appear easy.

Michael E. Wood's baritone  in Heal Their Hearts-Freedom melded into a scene like something from West Side Story when Fleming joined him and they went face to face with the rival Irish dancers. Alternating Irish dance with tap dance, out doing each other at every tier and growing in intensity and difficulty, the good natured rivalry culminated in a stand-off that brought the audience to its feet.

The program guide mentioned who made the flooring, drapes, and payroll but neglected to mention some of the key cast.

There was no mention of the woman who sang the solo pieces. Her voice was melodic, clean and reminiscent of a young Kate Bush. It's a shame she wasn't clearly listed as it would be nice to be able to give her the kudos she deserves.

Another person that should be especially mentioned is the man who played the lead of the Irish dancers. He had  a vibrant and charismatic personality that was a match for the fine quality of the performance. 

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