The Prickle (@ThePrickle) September 13, 2019
Heartbeat of Home at London’s Piccadilly Theatre is on the pulse of modern dance entertainment. A true celebration of rhythm and athleticism, the show’s dancers give a relentless and spicy performance in the spirit of Irish and Cuban fusion.
Given the show’s title, fans of classical ballet or traditional West End campery may be slightly disappointed with the lack of concrete narrative throughout. Despite director John McColgan conceiving Act 1 as a dream voyage and Act 2 as a street party, the show feels a little confused – jolting between upbeat jigs to heart-breaking contemporary showpieces, and requiring imaginative interpretation from the audience.
Bobby Hodges, the lead Irish dancer, gives a masterclass in fancy footwork and swagger, bringing Fred Astaire’s easy style to a typically complex and staccato genre. Lisa Welham, the lead female Latin dancer, steals every scene she’s in, questioning why David Bolger, lead choreographer, did not make better use of her throughout.
At times, it feels like fusion is forgotten. Indeed, Act 1 is a little confusing with the ‘international dancers’ often being stopped by an invasion of the Irish troupe. Act 2 improves on this balance, with fusion coming through in group choreography – most beautifully in the Argentine Tango that masterfully weaves Irish step throughout.
The show’s vocalist, Lauren Azania, and band are not overshadowed by the on-stage bonanza. All contribute hugely to the spirit – and, on occasion, comedy – of the show.
Heartbeat of Home is an enjoyable two hours, which moves traditional Riverdance productions into a new realm.
Heartbeat of Home is playing until 13 October 2019. £20 day seats available.