Serving as a successor to the renown Lord of the Dance, which Irish dancer/choreographer Michael Flatley first brought to audiences worldwide in 1996, those residing in Australia have had the opportunity to witness its successor over these last couple of weeks on stages across the country. Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games is an amalgamation of strong Irish stepdancing, the occasional concert-like performance, memorable violin duets and some semblance of a good vs. evil storyline that isn’t particular easy to wrap one’s head around. Although guests in attendance with me at the show did consider its predecessor to be the stronger out of both shows, Dangerous Games is for the most part a strong and memorable assortment of dancing, singing and special effects.
Unlike select shows during Dangerous Games’ (upcoming) Broadway and (current) European tours, Michael Flatley does not appear on-stage in-person at all. He is present in the show however, with a pre-recorded segment near the end of the show showcasing his talent prior to the cast’s encore song. Although I don’t see this being an alternative to having him perform live on stage, it is definitely better than nothing, and made for an impressive watch nevertheless. Despite Flatley not being in attendance, the on-stage cast managed to shine and stand-out in their own right. From the lead roles to the surprisingly large ensemble, all cast members showed clear talent and were incredibly synchronised during each routine. That being said, their skills have left me still wondering how they manage to achieve such feats so quickly and precisely.
While some of the more songs involved most if not all the cast members coming onstage together, a fair portion of the show had male and female dancers performing separately. Generally the males had the more intense, hard-hitting stepdance numbers which involved making a lot of noise and occasionally dancing shirtless (Which warranted a few cheers from the crowd). The female dancers on the other hand, although having some of their own hard-hitting stepdance rotuines, tended to perform during the slower/softer songs. While one could expect louder stepdance numbers every time the male ensemble came onto the stage, the female dancers in my opinion offered a much more diverse range of routines, including several occasions where viewers would be treated to vocal and instrumental scenes as well. With the exception of the lead characters, the male and female ensembles had somewhat equal time on-stage. Overall there were a few fairly dull songs, but on average the show was a thrill to watch in my opinion.
The base set design is very simple in Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games. It generally consists of a large open area at the front of the stage where most of the dancing takes place, with an elevated platform at the back accessible by stairs at both the centre-front and sides of it. With only a few special effects devices (Eg. strobe lights, fire machines) on stage, the dancers are not hindered by any bulky props. Despite the lack of props, viewers are still able to witness dances taking place in enchanted forests with unicorns, in a lava-ridden subterranean cavern and seemingly outer-space. Scenery was provided through digital backdrops displayed above the elevated platform and below it. Although you shouldn’t go into this expecting a Pixar level of animation, the backdrops were very well designed, actively animated and were synchronised to the music in several cases. My only issue was that the backdrop animation in the smaller section between the main stage and the top of the elevated platform had a noticeably lower resolution compared to the clarity the main backdrop had. However, I don’t think this would be a noticeable issue if you were sitting further back in the theatre.
From glamorous and glittery to robotic and futuristic, Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games features a large number of costumes, with many cast members clearly having to change multiple times during the show. Asides from what seemed to be a couple of very minor wardrobe issues (from my perspective), the costumes when coupled with the backdrops and dancing maneuvers provided a rich experience for many of the songs – even if the storyline wasn’t always present or sequence of events particularly easy to grasp.
Final Words on Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games
Although I would have personally liked the show to have better utilised its storyline in a more coherent way, Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games presented what I was expecting when walking into the theatre. For the two hours you are treated to around 30 songs which are executed in a number of different ways, complemented by a variety of costumes, effectively animated backdrops, and the chance to watch robots dancing in what I would consider a distinct amalgamation between Irish dancing and sci-fi. Overall, a good evening out in my opinion.
About Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games
Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games is being performed at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s (QPAC) Concert Hall until Friday evening. This will be followed by three sessions at Jupiters Hotel & Casino this weekend on the Gold Coast. The show will then be headed to the Capitol Theatre in Sydney for its final Sydney leg, taking over Les Miserables which concludes at the venue on Sunday.
Tickets to see this show were provided by the Brisbane / Gold Coast publicity team for Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games. Would also like to thank my three guests who provided their guest review scores (Available below).