Thursday, November 10
Reviewed by Tracey Chatterton
Celtic Illusion is an Irish dancing show with a touch of magic - literally.
It is the creation of director and star Anthony Street who was a principal dancer in Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance. He started working on Celtic Illusion on his return to Australia with the premiere in 2011.
The influence of Lord of the Dance is evident from the outset, including the musical opening and the lined formation.
There is plenty of light and shade as the women almost float across the stage in their soft shoe piece while the men present a perfectly-timed combat piece in hard shoes.
The troupe present a polished performance although it cannot bring the same level of energy to the stage as the larger international show. Having grown up watching Flatley's grandiose productions, the smaller Australian troupe left me wanting more in the first half.
However, when the choreography steered away from the Flatley-inspired sets the show came alive for me.
A Guys and Dolls-themed dance with the women seductively circling chairs added a bit of spice and it was clear the troupe were having fun.
A bare-foot contemporary dance also showcased the diverse talent of Georgia May, who with Street was a standout performer.
The highlight though, was Street's solo street dance. His feet trebled across the floor to match the beating of the bodhran (Irish drum). His intricate steps kept up with the increasing tempo illustrating why he was chosen to fill Flatley's shoes on the international stage.
The magical illusions gave the show a point of difference. Dancers were transformed, or disappeared with a flick of cloth and the crowd were enthralled with the levitation of a dancer.
It wouldn't be complete without the percussive finale where the dancers perform to their own beat. Their rhythmical performance left me buzzing.
Celtic Illusion is performing in 13 cities around the country this month.