It was cold, wild, frantic and exciting at the Theatre Royal for the London/Irish or Irish/London dance show, Celtic masters, with a Pogue-style all action band The BibleCode Sundays. At times it was more band than dancers, but the raw vitality of band and dancers made this a whoop-an-a-holler of an evening. This was no bland UNA in her Guna, Kevin in his Kilt, but a fast-footed, bloody knuckled, furious, loud and strong, bottle slammin’, pumpin, adrenalin draining, attack on the senses.
At times it was strange to see an eight piece band do nothing as dancers jigged, reeled and rocked to backing tracks but it was always interesting, even when there were odd gaps between sequences. Obviously the dancers needed a bigger wider stage and the four women and five men were all champion Irish dancers and seasoned performers in touring shows like Riverdance, Lord Of The Dance and Feet Of Flames. But they came to entertain and impress and they did in hippy dippy outfits, purple and orange bellbottoms, PVC hotpants and traditional gunas and they rocked, rapped and funkied like wild rowdy rovers in gold lame shirts.
At times The Bible Code Sundays dominated with songs like Maybe It’s Because I’m an Irish Londoner, Paddy Devil, Pirates of Clew Bay and a stompin, Welcome To Cricklewood. Individual solos were excellent on fiddle, flutes, bodhran, banjo and guitar to establish many moods, while a girl vocalist sang a Les Liz showsong and an upbeat Carrickfergus in a breathy popish style.
But in the second half, the dancers were floor batteringly exciting and John Carey was stunning. The four girls were in today’s language – fit and well – tasty and the men were hot, hard and up-for-it.
A Finale sequence was amazing and you felt this raw energy of band and dancer, come in waves and waves like it’s the only way to play and the only way to dance.
Conor Smith put it all together and he danced like Flatley used to, and Ronan McManus sang like a throaty McGowan and not a Celtic tenor or a Danny Boy to spoil it all.