Amor on tap? No more!

2011-02-19 07:17

I admit it, I was dragged there.

Amor Vittone’s visage grinning at me like a crazier version of the Cheshire Cat from the billboards and the threat that she’d be singing was enough to put me off.

But her tap background pays off and she manages to almost hold her own with the seasoned cast of 12 dancers and three singers of Strictly Tap Dance Fever.

Almost, because her technique is too loose and she looked a little unsure on her tap shoes – but then she had only been rehearsing with this experienced touring cast for six days.

After a few days on stage she’ll probably settle down.

The ensemble work is quite incredible with the cast whipping through the ages of tap from Fred Astaire’s top hat and tails ballroom style to Gene Kelly’s showy broadway style and on to more urban styles made famous by the likes of Sammy Davis Jnr and Gregory Hines.

The show doesn’t bother with a narrative, relying instead on costume changes (lots of them) and changes in music styles to jump from tap era to tap era.

This is entertainment – there’s no subtext to read, just sit back and go with it.

One of the two show stealers is vocalist Lara Denning, who sings from the business end of her black heels and then some.

Her rendition of Fever had everyone reaching for a fan and Bye Bye Blackbird is danced with a sensual precision that defies description.

The other talent to watch is the dextrous Jay Hardy. Skinny as a rake, he moves effortlessly through technically testing a capella and his solo with two drum kits. It’s a jaw-dropping sight.

Though it is unfair to single out one dancer as the full dozen are pretty spectacular.

The second half is much better than the first as the cast get down to some serious tapping, but the inclusion of Vittone singing an Afrikaans song breaks the show’s rhythm.

She performs it well enough, but it is jarring in the middle of tap dance show that is so definitively created out of an American cultural phenomenon.

Strictly Tap Dance Fever is a fun night out, but once the last dance has been tapped it’ll be gone.

This is throwaway entertainment to be enjoyed in the moment.

» The show runs at the Nelson Mandela Theatre at the Joburg Theatre until March 6.

Call the theatre on 0861 670 670.

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