Riverdance 25th Anniversary Show performed at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Friday 27th August 2021

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

In March 2020 Riverdance 25th Anniversary Show began its run at the Royal Concert Hall before it came to a halt due to Covid 19, but they promised that they would be back, and that promise was kept as the first of three shows brought the house down on Friday night.

Just as it had when it filled the intermission slot at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, the Grammy award winning music and thrilling energy had this audience in awe with this re-imagined show with its innovative and super quick toe taps performed at lightning speed and in perfect synchronicity.

Conceived by Moya Doherty and shaped by director John McColgan, the show opened with the classic Riverdance formation with their jerk precision of awesomely co-ordinated feet which drove home a beat which defied any member of the audience to keep still.

Accompanied by an extremely talented four person orchestra (down from the original thirteen) on exotic instruments which included a bodhran, fiddle and uilleann pipes, performed against a video screen of gorgeous projections, the inexhaustible young dancers took us through scenes of ancient Gaelic dance, ballet, tap, and even a whirling dervish of delight that is The Riverdance Russian Ensemble whose hybrid of Russian Folk dance and ballet was jaw droppingly flawless.

Against a firestorm backdrop, Magdalena Mannion emerged to perform an equally flaming flamenco, whilst lead dancers Bobby Hodges and Amy-Mae Dolan dipped in and out throughout showing their incredible skill. There was even an astonishing dance off between Kenji Igus and Tyler Knowlin, tap dancing Harlem hoofers and a trio of Irish steppers.

With two acts split into eighteen scenes there was something for everyone. The Countless Cathleen scene showcased a dance off between the male and female dancers who tapped their heels on the stage quicker than the eye could follow. Shivna saw some of the most exquisite ballet moves all accompanied by Tara Howley and her uilleann pipes. There was a trade off between Haley Richardson, her fiddle and the wonderful saxophone playing by Emma Mcphilemy in Harvest, and a musical interlude between Mark Alfred, his bodhran and the fiddle which had the audience clapping along.

With beautiful mournful musical interludes provided by the Riverside Singers who did justice to Bill Whelan’s mesmerising soundtrack the show was brought to an end with the same level of exuberance and joy with which they had started, earning them a well earned standing ovation.