What is left to say about a global phenomenon that has been playing to sellout audiences in arenas and theatres for 20 years?
Lord Of The Dance is Michael Flatley’s legacy to the world and one which has made him a multi-millionaire.
The latest production, Lord Of The Dance – Dangerous Games, had an explosive opening at Milton Keynes Theatre tonight and proved an immediate hit with diehard fans.
But when it was over I was left wondering whatever happened to the Dangerous Games. Did I miss them? Was there a sneaky game of snakes and ladders going on in the wings or a bit of footie taking place back stage?
There’s supposed to be some sort of story – and it’s in the show somewhere – but it’s disjointed, irrelevant and badly plotted.
Instead there is a production packed with gimmicks that include holograms (including Mr F with his son Michael St James Flatley), a video backcloth, pyrotechnics and a few Star Wars aliens.
It involves a fight of good against evil with Morgan Comer’s hugely arrogant and egotistical Lord Of The Dance taking on a shifty-looking character, dressed in black, who resembles an extra from Dr Who, called the Dark Lord (Tom Cunningham).
Amid their fight for supremacy over the Earth there are series of set pieces, some mystical and magical, others sci-fi inspired, all with kitsch graphics.
The girl dancers have long flowing locks, fixed expressions and are dressed like Barbie Princesses as they prance and twirl delicately across the stage.
But, I’m sorry ladies, as glamorous and talented as you are, it’s the men whose mesmerising high energy drilling is a sight to behold (and even better during their ‘Poldark’ moment with their shirts off).
There’s not enough room in the production to showcase Cunningham’s undoubted talent. His sensational turn as the evil Dark Lord almost sets the stage alight.
The dance showdown between Comer and Cunningham is a real highlight, along with a chance to see Mr Flatley – in triplicate (though sadly just a hologram) – strut his stuff.
I’m sure a lot of the audience, like me, would be happy to sit in a theatre and just watch a bloody good display of Irish dancing of the purity and intensity first performed by Flatley pre-Riverdance.
Of course there’s a need to evolve, but this show is now like a glitzy Las Vegas revue with sexy dancers writhing seductively (and stripping down to their undies for one routine), a sultry singer, and a pair of blondes on fiddles, and lots of video wizardry which detracts from both the dance and the story.
The dancers are universally foot perfect, as you’d expect, drilled to within an inch of their lives by Flatley (creator, producer, director and choreographer!) and dance director Marie Duffy Pask.
Comer, needlessly and constantly, asks the audience for adulation. He knows he’s the best, and he is (a British and world champion at Irish dance) but modesty doesn’t appear to be in his make-up.
I’d got pretty sick of hearing the folk tune, Lord Of The Dance, by the end of the show but it was great to see it tapped out in a dazzling finale with the whole cast.
Lord Of The Dance – Dangerous Games is spectacular, noisy and thrilling – but just a little too high-tech for my liking. It runs at Milton Keynes Theatre until Sunday.