Theater Review: "Riverdance" at the Pantages Theater
Few theatrical productions can garner the same thunderous and electric energy from the audience as the performers exert. “Riverdance” was one of these shows, but not much else.
The Irish song and dance phenomenon that has taken the world by storm made its long-awaited return to L.A. for a week-long engagement at the Pantages Theater.
Featuring a uniform line of dancers garbed in a slew of glittery and velvet numbers high kicking on stage with great force and synchronization, “Riverdance” could give the Radio City Rockettes or any other internationally-renowned dance troop a run for their money.
Leaping on stage in the role of principal male dancer, Craig Asherst is clearly skilled in wide variety of dances. He seamlessly infused aspects of modern ballet and tap, with more cultural Irish clogging moves throughout the duration of the show.
With the sheer majesty and fluidity of his presence, Asherst stood out, in a sequined and mesh ruffled shirt and leather pants (one of his many costume changes), against a backdrop of 20 other equally talented dancers.
While the traditional Irish dances that “Riverdance” is known for showcased a high level of complexity and choreography, after two minutes, the moves become mildly repetitive and cyclic. Unfortunately, the show’s way of masking this was through inserting out-of-place musical numbers in between sets.
While most of the dance pieces left the audience underwhelmed, a couple of soloists and duos still managed to shine.
Flamenco dancer extraordinaire Marita Martinez-Rey led the pack as one of the most memorable soloista. Upon her fiery entrance, Martinez-Rey commanded the audience’s full attention and sizzled with every twist of her hip and flick of her wrist.
While the glitz and glamour of “Riverdance” made the production seem like it was geared more towards a town like Las Vegas, there was a certainly a widely receptive audience in L.A., as the show made its return by popular demand.
As a whole, “Riverdance,” was nothing short of a grand-scale production filled to the brim with plenty of pyrotechnics and fancy footwork. Stylistically, the show was desperately calling for a more contemporary touch (it is 2011, after all, not the mid-90s heyday of the Irish clogging show). Audiences no longer care about how many tricks a show or its dancers can execute, but would rather feel the passion behind the dances.
But then again, why tamper with a formula that works? After all, no one is trying to reinvent “The Nutcracker,” right?
While this production could use some help entering the 21st century, it clearly still pleases long-standing fans of the style of dance presented in the show. So it appears that the luck of the Irish, at least for a little while longer, still prevails in L.A.
Best way to find more great content from Neon Tommy?
Or join our email list below to enjoy Neon Tommy News Alerts.