It's always a pleasant surprise to find a show that delivers so much more than expected. Such was the case for Riverdance.
Musicians flanked the dancers with Pat Mangan (fiddle) and Mark Alfred (percussion, drums, bodhran) stepping out onto centre stage to rally the crowd. Instruments ranged from saxophone to Uilleann pipes.
Highlighted were the flamenco solos by the mesmerizing Marita Martinez-Rey, whose choreography was spellbinding, and the tap duo of Dewitt Fleming Jr. and Michael E. Wood who enchanted the audience with their fluidity and technique as they made something extremely difficult appear easy.
Michael E. Wood wooed us with his baritone voice in Heal Their Hearts-Freedom which later melded into a scene like something from West Side Story when Fleming joined him and they went face to face with the rival Irish dancers. Alternating Irish Dance with tap dance, out doing each other at every tier and growing in intensity and difficulty, the good natured rivalry culminated in a stand-off that brought the audience to its feet.
Searching through the program guide there was no mention of the woman who sang the solo pieces. Her voice was melodic and clean and reminiscent of a young Kate Bush. It's a shame she wasn't clearly listed as it would be nice to be able to give her the kudos she deserves.
Another person that should be mentioned is the man who played the lead of the Irish dancers. He had such a vibrant and charismatic personality and his technique was impeccable. He was larger than life and clearly stood out.
The program guide mentioned who made the flooring, drapes, and payroll but neglected to mention some of the key cast. Well if nowhere else, the performances and performers are sure to be etched in memory.