Review Roundup: U.S. Premiere of HEARTBEAT OF HOME in Chicago
Broadway In Chicago's HEARTBEAT OF HOME, from the producers of Riverdance, made its U.S. premiere in Chicago at the Oriental Theatre (151 W. Randolph) for a limited two-week engagement beginning March 4 - 16, 2014.
Let's see what the critics had to say:
Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune writes: Stay away from home too long, of course, and the old sod gets replaced. In many ways, "Heartbeat of Home," the entertaining and mostly successful new show from the now famous (and very rich) Riverdance team of Moya Doherty and John McColgan, is an attempt to update the old brand for a new world order. Where "Riverdance" implied (with some foundation) that Irish dance forms begat so many others, the new "Heartbeat of Home" (Wednesday night was the U.S. premiere at the Oriental Theatre) breaks up those famous "Riverdance" lines and fuses the traditional forms with all that you might see in today's multicultural Ireland: Afro-Cuban dance, Latin dance, hip-hop... But that's not the most interesting change. In this show, relatively few of the Irish dancers are actually Irish, most hail from Britain, Canada or Australia. They are not all redheads or bedecked with freckles or whatever else are the markers of the Irish physical stereotype, which already was more a showbiz product than a reality 20 years ago.
Scott King of Chicago Now writes: Although the evolution from traditional Irish dancing and music within Heartbeat of Home perhaps wasn't as gradual as it should have been, and the multi-culutral aspect sometimes felt a bit forced, the show is a can't miss... Aside from a brilliant mix of musicians, dancers, and singers, Heartbeat of Home succeeded more than most shows do in its set and costuming. The extraordinary images and sequences generated on the back drop/LED screen paired wonderfully with not only the incredibly unique costumes, but with the music and story as well.
The Chicago Critic writes: But Heartbeat of Home surprised me by blending Irish step dancing with ballet, modern dance, with hip-hop, samba, mambo, tango, even waltz. My first impression is that the styles and tone simply didn't mix; that the uniqueness of Riverdance lies in its purity as an Irish dance show. The blended numbers seemed to flatten out as light-weight ballet and ethnic Latin and Afro-Cuban sounds and dance styles mingled with some Irish dancing flowing through. That took some adjustment on my part since I'm a purist fan of Irish dances.