BWW Review: RIVERDANCE Tour Enlivens the Eccles

BWW Review: RIVERDANCE Tour Enlivens the Eccles

The RIVERDANCE 20 Years tour enlivens the Eccles Theater with its entrancing celebration of world dance.

The Irish dancing phenomenon RIVERDANCE is a brand of entertainment beloved the world over since it first premiered more than two decades ago. The precision and artistry of its performers are legendary, and this production is no exception with its flurry of flying feet in perfect synchronization.

Jason O'Neill is simply stunning as the lead male dancer (also danced by Kieran Hardiman and Callum Spencer). He is magnetic as he and the rest of the dancers entrance the audience in the exciting Irish dance numbers "Reel Around the Sun" and "Thunderstorm" (which features heart-stopping lighting effects from designer John Comiskey).

"American Wake" is a charming display of partner and group dance that highlights the lovely costumes of designer Joan Bergin. Also enjoyable are appearances by a Russian folk dance troupe in "The Russian Dervish" and tappers Lamont Brown and Tyler Knowlin in "Trading Taps."

The music, composed by Bill Whelan, is just as wonderful as the dancing, with ethereal vocals from the female singers that fill the soul in songs such as "The Heart's Cry." The absolutely fantastic sound design by Michael O'Gorman makes every piece sound like polished perfection.

The band members, including Tara Howley on uilleann pipes and other instruments, Ceilidh Briscoe on fiddle, Emma Frampton on saxophone, and Mark Alfred on drums, are flawless and world-class in their musicality and technical skill. Especially memorable are the lush "Caoineadh Chu Chulainn (Lament)" and upbeat "Slip into Spring - The Harvest."

The set and projections fill their role, and sometimes very well, but they don't always offer the cutting edge theatricality the performances deserve.

RIVERDANCE plays the Eccles Theater for a limited engagement through Sunday, April 8, 2018. For tickets, call ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS (2787) or visit www.artsaltlake.org.

Photo Credit: RIVERDANCE troupe

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