Celtic Tiger starring Michael Flatley at The Shows Must Go On! Online
Originally debuting in 2005, Celtic Tiger was Irish dancing legend Michael Flatley’s return from retirement: a worldwide tour visiting 18 countries and bringing a classic display of Irish step-dancing to millions. Now, 15 years later, fans and newcomers alike can marvel at the “Lord of the Dance’s” impeccable speed and style, thanks to The Show Must Show Go On’s fundraiser for the Royal Trinity Hospice. It may not be to everyone’s taste but, for a fervent fan, it’s heaven.
Directed, produced and choreographed by Flatley, who also stars in it, Celtic Tiger takes the form of a typical dance showcase, foregrounding spectacle over narrative. Over the course of a series of unconnected musical numbers, Flatley and his ensemble of 45 dancers and 15 musicians flaunt their technical skill, exhibiting a degree of singing, dancing and musicianship that must be seen to be believed.
Marrying together the perfect precision of Flatley’s signature dancing style with culturally charged imagery, the show is by far one of the most surreal pieces produced by the Irishman. Complete with fairies flying around a faux-Garden of Eden, a stylised recreation of the 1916 Easter Rising and a surprisingly upbeat tribute to Al Capone, Celtic Tiger offers a truly unpredictable experience, unified by breath-taking dancing; it’s Flatley by way of a fever-dream.
With music written by Ronan Hardiman, Celtic Tiger emphasises moment-to-moment spectacle, with each instance attempting to out-do the one before it. Whilst this powerful display is initially mesmerising, at almost two hours long, this artistic one-upmanship does begin to drag: these daring displays of dancing start to lose their glamour after the first few numbers. Indeed, although technically immaculate, by the time the 15-minute finale rolls around, perhaps it’s only die-hard fans who will be still thoroughly engaged.
Nevertheless, in the programme of the original production, Flatley wrote: “I will be a dancer until the day I die”. Thanks to this recording’s incredible immortalising effect, stalwart fans can enjoy his wonderous work far beyond that sad day.
Photo: George Shin
Celtic Tiger starring Michael Flatley is at from 3rd July until 5th July 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.