Revolution, The Joyce Theater, New York

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A couple of nifty tap dancers, Joel Hanna and Michael Schulster, have brought their expertise in Irish step dancing, elements of flamenco and American hoofing to a show that they say aims at emulating a rock concert.

The strobes are there as part of Ryan O’Gara’s garish lighting, the throbbing rock is by Ryan Alfred and Chris Ryan, and a video screen in the rear echoes everything the dancers do. A hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Revolution is strictly MTV and emphatically not ballroom: it delivers 70 minutes of expert tapping for six men and a nasty slap to feminism, with the women, who wear variations of denim hot pants, second-skin jeans and even tighter tops, striking Victoria’s Secret poses when not repeating the same old flung-out leg, rolling on the floor or submissively clinging to their partners’ legs. So you think they can’t dance because the piece screams of sex-slave groupies, except that really it’s just the choreography that makes them so trashy.

Schulster and Hanna, amiable enough, are vigorous and nimble dancers, Hanna particularly so. Two cameramen crouching just outside the wings record their every move for the video screen slung high at the back of the steel-girder set typical of such concerts. Schulster’s and Hanna’s heftier male colleagues, more slapdash in their tap, back the two stars loyally and shine in brief solos that show off their individual styles.

Divided into three parts, “Sweat”, “Dance” and “Rock & Roll”, pretty well indistinguishable from each other, the routines follow swiftly from Broadway ensemble hoofing à la 42nd Street to more intricate and sophisticated numbers such as Hanna’s “Another Step”, which demonstrates his range of intricate footwork. Sonia De Los Santos, warbling into a microphone near the glass-enclosed percussion section holding Tom Roslak, sings “Travel Far By Love”, providing a breather before the men launch into “5,6,7,8...”, a spectacular rehearsal number reminiscent of A Chorus Line. Revolution is loud and in your face and entertaining enough, but it never touches the subtleties or musicianship one finds in Savion Glover.

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