By Susan McNaughton and Helen McNaughton
Irish dancing… are you thinking: “oh, yes the tappy type where they all have poker faces?” Prepare to have your ideas shattered when you go to see this explosive show.
When poring over the Fringe brochure during our decision-making process, the listing for this show stood out as one which might just be one worth watching – with Riverdance and “YouTube sensation” mentioned in the write-up. We’re not big fans of Saturday night TV, so had missed their appearances on “Britain’s Got Talent”.
Arriving at the venue (one of the circus-tent style installations at Assembly, George Square), we were a little dismayed to find it was bench-style seating. Definitely not the most comfortable place to spend an hour. But our own physical discomforts soon paled into insignificance as the dance duo proceeded through their routines. The set is a simple stage set with a projection screen to the rear, and the action opens with a video been shown which turns into reality as the mask-clad dancers emerge. We must admit to have been a little confused as to what we were about to see at this stage, and felt that once the masks were off and we were able to see the faces of the dancers it was a more engaging experience.
Checking their website, we find that the duo are named Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding, with the collaboration of video artist Jonny Reed. The video makes a huge contribution to the show, giving the dancers the space to make their costume changes, but also being an integral part of the action – the routine may commence with the video interpretation, which is then followed by the duo dancing on to stage wearing the costumes being seen in the video. Very cleverly conceived, and executed.
Strange to say however, that the action really takes off when the pair sit down. Not what you’d expect from a dance group – but their use of a table and hand movements which tap out the routines more normally followed by their feet was the point when the performance lifted from being a dance spectacle to something unique and very different. This was what brought them to prominence in their TV appearances, and what sets their performance apart.
By the end of the hour, the audience were completely engaged and enthralled by this performance – high energy and high entertainment value.