BWW Reviews: ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL 2015: THE TAP PACK Cleverly Combined Dance, Song, And Comedy

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Saturday 6th June 2015

It is nigh on impossible to resist a tap show, and so The Tap Pack just had to be on my list. This was not a long string of tap routines, however, as each of the performers plays a character, which leads to plenty of comedy, and all five are singers as well as dancers. Hailing from Queensland, four of the five play an American dance quartet, while the fifth is an Australian who manages to dance his way into the performance.

It all begins out in the foyer, where a young man in sneakers and reversed baseball cap is busking, playing a Cajon. With most of the audience seated he wanders in down the aisle, eventually taking to the stage, continuing his busking and holding out his cap. He doffs his sneakers and dons tap shoes for a fiery display before making way for the 'American' tap quartet. To this point he gave the impression that he was a warm-up act for the main event, but not so, as we were soon to discover.

The set is a New York bar, with shelves full of bottles and a long bar that splits into sections allowing them to be moved around and used in numerous ways as raised dance platforms, adding steps on occasions for further routines. It even turns into a pool table, the cues then being incorporated into another routine. Behind the shelves can be seen a group of excellent musicians who provide the accompaniment for all but a couple of numbers, where recordings of a large orchestra are used. Although not lit fully, a couple of our fine local musicians could be recognised, yet again showing the quality of Adelaide artists.

The production was devised by Jesse Rasmussen, Jordan Pollard, and Thomas J Egan, with direction by Nigel Turner Carroll. The dancers for this production included two of the creators, Jesse Rasmussen and Thomas J Egan, joined by Ben Brown, Christopher Horsey, and Sean Mulligan. Each has a distinct character and set of traits that they use to generate the comedy, such as 'the singer' in the group reacting whenever anybody else tries to sing. These interactions also give rise to the 'anything you can do, I can do better' tap battles, where we see how incredibly talented these five performers are.

As well as numerous chances for them each to solo, there are a good many ensemble pieces, where the timing and accuracy are incredible. They tell me that they have another show with a full narrative, and it has to be hoped that we get to see that at some time in the near future. I have to admit that they were so good that I left thinking that I might sell my own tap shoes on eBay, but I ran onto my old tap teacher, Phyl Skinner, and Adelaide icon, on the way out and, inspired, I decided to keep them a bit longer. Watch for a return visit.

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From This Author Barry Lenny

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