Tap Dogs, Novello Theatre

If you go to Tap Dogs expecting a dance show with a great story, you’re not going to get one. It’s six guys tapdancing. You’re more likely to get a story from the gaggle of women sitting next to you who, reasoning that the show on stage contains no dialogue, consider it perfectly acceptable to chatter away to each other throughout the show. (Seriously. When you go to the theatre, does it never occur to you that the hundreds of other people in the theatre are not interested in what you think?)

Instead, we get Adam Garcia and five strapping men, clomping in workmen’s boots on a variety of surfaces – wood, steel and water – with gusto.

Tap dancing in itself is fun to watch, and the rhythms it pounds out can be fascinating to listen to. Over an 80 minute stretch, though, it can be a tad samey, no matter how talented the dancer. Tap Dogs attempts to cope by introducing two female drummers, Lyndsay Evans and Genevieve Wilkins. I have to say that most of the time, their contributions seemed a little superfluous: six men hoofing produces more than enough percussion.

Better attempts to inject some variety into the routine come by way of props, from basketballs to angle grinders. But ultimately, it’s the men themselves who need to carry the show, and they all manage well. Six distinct personalities are expressed well through their individual dance styles.

As the star of the show, Garcia is both charismatic and technically breathtaking. But he’s just as comfortable being part of the ensemble as he is being in the central spotlight, which helps add to this production’s considerable charm.

Author: Scott Matthewman

Formerly Online Editor and Digital Project Manager for The Stage, creator of the award-winning The Gay Vote politics blog, now a full-time software developer specialising in Ruby, Objective-C and Swift, as well as a part-time critic for Musical Theatre Review, The Reviews Hub and others.