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Sadler's Wells Theatre

Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs turns the world of tap on its head – literally!

This is a tap show like no other: they dance in water; they tap up and down ladders; they dance amongst the sparks of power tools and even tap upside-down. Tap Dogs perfectly fuses the world of tap and industry by recreating the sounds and sights you’d expect from an industrial environment alongside some seriously intense tap routines. The feet of the six leading men really are their instruments and, in this case, their machinery too.

Tap Dogs is revolutionary. The staging is just as mesmerising as the action. In one instance, the cast even build their own set out of scaffolding which visually and audibly captures the industrial vibe. At other times they slide up and down wooden beams, jump between iron blocks, and tug at ropes to imitate the mechanic environment. As well as this, the show is laced with fancy trickery and quirky stunts. The use of props is unbelievable, if not gawk-worthy. Just dancing with a basketball looks hard enough, yet this talented cast manage to incorporate the bouncing into the rhythm of their tap routines – it is truly astounding. Anthony Russo, with the aid of his safety goggles (a tap dancing staple), dances amidst the glowing sparks generated from the real power tools wielded by the other cast members on stage. There are literal sparks flying from his feet – very fitting considering the speed and intensity of each and every one of these routines. Another stand out scene involves the six members tapping on sound pads equipped with the sounds of the DJ-setting on an electric keyboard. They look and sound like a new six-piece, macho boy band … that taps.

It is amazing how the uniqueness of each character is portrayed through the means of dance, gesture and the odd grunt or jibe. A few standout characterisations include Reid Perry’s innocence, Justin Myles’ cheeky charisma, and the funk of Chaise Rossiello. They all have a charming rapport with each other on the stage and moments of comic hilarity burst through the rugged atmosphere. This is reflected in the reaction of the audience who enthusiastically woo, whistle and cheer along the cast on stage – the energy is infectious!

The drumming of Catarina Percinio and Noriko Terada pulsates through the theatre which, alongside the tapping, makes the atmosphere electric. The high energy and even higher intensity of the show is, unbelievably, maintained for the whole eighty minutes. The talent of these performers has to seriously be commended – their stamina and enthusiasm is unwavering. This, coupled with the intricacies and absolute precision of the routines, makes this an unmissable show. Whether you are an expert in the field of tap or a complete novice is inconsequential, everybody and anybody can enjoy this performance. Tap Dogs is a riotous celebration of tap and the industrial world – an unusual pairing but a roaring success!

A word of advice: if you’re seated in the front few rows, make sure you bring along a waterproof or a good sense of humour.

  • Dance Theatre
  • By Dein Perry
  • Directed by Nigel Triffitt
  • Cast includes: Anthony Russo, Nathaniel Hancock, Richard Miller, Chaise Rossiello, Justin Myles, Reid Perry, Nathan Beech, Sam Marks
  • Sadler's Wells Theatre
  • Until 10 November 2018

About The Author

Editor and Reviewer (UK)

Grace is an English Literature graduate from UCL and currently works for a creative agency, specialising in design and communication. She has a background in the arts, with training in music and extensive experience performing in plays and musicals.

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