I don’t often write about non-geeky things, but I have to make an exception for the show I saw this weekend at Montecasino. For non-Joburgers, that’s the location of what is probably Johannesburg’s best theatres. While we do have a couple of other very nice ones, the Teatro at Montecasino has the added advantages of being inside a casino and restaurant/shopping centre, so it’s generally a safer location to be leaving late at night after a show. Plus there are plenty of restaurants on hand so you can have dinner before or after the show.
A bit of background: I usually try to catch about one theatre show a year, depending on what’s playing. Mostly I like cheerful musicals like Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Grease, The Lion King… heck, even High School Musical (okay, that’s actually a guilty pleasure of mine). However, Lord of the Dance has been one of my favourite shows since I first saw it on TV back when I was a kid. I have the DVD around here somewhere, and the soundtrack on iTunes. I finally got to see it live a few years ago when it came to South Africa. So naturally, when I saw it was returning to SA, I frantically contacted my family and made sure we booked tickets straight away. It was well worth that little bit of panic!
Fast forward about eight months to the night of the show, Sunday 19 July. We were five rows from the front, just about dead centre; probably the perfect seats. Not only was the show absolutely fantastic, I had the honour of seeing Michael Flatley himself on stage during the finale (I should note here that Flatley is only appearing at a handful of performances, which are noted on the Computicket booking page).
Dangerous Games follows the same story as the original Lord of the Dance show that’s been running for the past 20 years or so: the Lord of the Dance and his guys versus the Dark Lord and his minions, with an evil seductress coming between the Lord and his true love. If you’re familiar with the original show, you’ll recognise the music and the dances as well, though they have been given a modern makeover. The show still has the Lord of the Dance music at its core, but most of the rest of the music has been remixed in one way or another. I found the big screen showing various scenes to set the tone for each set piece a little distracting, but I must admit it did work quite well once I got used to it.
Similarly, the costumes have also been updated, giving the performers a fresh new look while still maintaining its Irish roots. A number of the costumes show off quite a bit more skin than anything I remember seeing in the previous show. As you might expect from a show of this calibre, the dancing was flawless, and the singing and violin parts were a nice change of pace. While all the performers were excellent, I feel that the Lord for the performance we attended, Cathal Keany, is worthy of special mention.
While I went into the show having no idea that I would be watching a new version of the Lord of the Dance, I was not disappointed in the slightest. Lord of the Dance remains my favourite live show I’ve seen to date, and given infinite funds, I’d probably go see it every week for the duration of its run. Certainly I’ll be booking tickets straight away the next time the show comes to South Africa.