Saturday, 25 May 2002

Hot Shoe Shuffle, May 25, 2002

Written by Larry Buttrose  and Kathryn Riding  
Choreographed by David Atkins and Dein Perry
Musical Direction Robert Gavin  
At Athenaeum I, May 25 until June 15, 2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

If you want peppy, Hot Shoe Shuffle is your show. It is exhilarating, old-fashioned song and dance that will warm a wintry night.

It resembles a Broadway import but is totally Australian. Director, David Atkins,  conceived it with Max Lambert in 1995. Dance sequences are choreographed by Atkins with Dein Perry,  creator of Aussie tap sensation, Tap Dogs.

The music comprises old Broadway tunes by the likes of Gershwin, Berlin  and Ellington.  The dance is pure tap, the story unadulterated schmaltz. The stage is a vivid cartoon set by Eamon D'Arcy.  

Dialogue by Larry Buttrose and Kathryn Riding is witty, fast and reminiscent of old movies. Characters talk like Mickey Rooney and dance like Gene Kelly.  Atkins milks the verbal and sight gags   The pace and timing are sensational.

Choreography falls into two forms. The flashy, colourful and with great comic timing derives from old Broadway. The other is the hotter, sexier, more contemporary form of Dein Perry.

The story is thin, but who cares? This show is about singin' and dancin'.

The seven Tap Brothers are forced by their father's will to perform dad's old tap routines in order to secure a two million dollar inheritance. To meet the requirements of his will they must incorporate into the act, April, (Leonie Page) a gal who can't dance.
 Tempers rise.  All the boys adore April except the eldest, Swing. (Drew Anthony). A love story brews, preceded by resentment and flirting.

As Swing, Anthony is charming, relaxed and a terrific dancer and singer.  Page has a delightfully warm voice and a sweet and sexy 40s look.

She sings with relish and a seductive quality, Long Ago and Far Away ( Gershwin), I Get Along Without You Very Well (Carmichael ) and How Long Has This Been Going On. (Gershwin). Jack Webster  as Max King  the promoter, has grace and command of the stage.

The ensemble is a pool of talents comprising Sean Mulligan,  Rohan Browne,  Nathan Wright,  Costa Nicolas,  Christian Patterson  and Jesse Rasmussen whose extraordinary solo routine is breath-taking.

This show is a hoot and leaves you stomping, clapping and wishing you learned tap at ten.

By Kate Herbert

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