Thursday, 22 May 1997

Tap Dogs, May 22, 1997

At Forum Theatre, May 1997 (no finishing date available)
Reviewed by Kate Herbert round May 21, 1997

If you've ever wondered like I have what's happening on those inner city building sites behind those huge wooden fences, now we know.  Tap Dogs have revealed all the secrets. Those TLF blokes (Tappers Labourers Federation) are tap dancing on scaffolding, sheets of galvo, wooden palettes, any damn bit of industrial waste they can find.

Tap Dogs is Bloke Tap, Tough Tap, Butch Tap, Tap with Attitude. It is a visit to the Land of Testosterone. Six Glen Waverly types and one Broady boy, directed by visual theatre whiz kid Nigel Triffitt, create a feast of Tap that balances great chorus dancing with individual showing off. Snatches of blokey roughhousing combine with dangerous stunts on ladders, platforms or upside down on a harness.

I can see them tap-mountaineering next in their tapping Blundstones.

The show is a bevy of rhythmic delights. So many time steps, so little time. They tap out every possible industrial noise: chain saws, jackhammers, trains and factories. It was so loud I had to stuff a tissue in my ears. Ever tried Tap Welding? These boys have. Tried dancing in a tray of water? Remember your raincoat like the two front rows.

These six chunky movers, led by Sheldon Perry, who does a great line in smug bastard, stomp and preen and pose and charm, each with an individual style. They smack each other around good-humouredly, slapping high fives, winking, pointing and raising eyebrows at their captive audience. They tease us, almost tossing themselves off the stage. We can feel the heat and sweat. They even dance on the tables.

The music is integral, state of the art interactive technology. MIDI pads on the stage floor are each programmed with a different electronic percussive sound and react when stomped upon. The feet are tapping, the floor percussing and the keyboard and guitar thumping. It's a high tech noise-fest. 

Triffitt's experience in visual theatre is evident. Even the set changes become a feature. He leaves all the mechanics of backstage visible to enhance the industrial feel of the show. Trifitt has updated the show since the 1995 season and it is more cohesive less tiring and just the right length at 80 minutes. David Murray's lighting design provides the perfect environment with dramatic back lighting and floor floods.

It's a good fun noisy thrash show which proves that when left alone, blokes like to make noise, run fast, smack each other, be athletic, sweat and - well, Tap Dance!!!


No comments:

Post a Comment