Heartbeat of Home review - September 2019
"Astonishing synchronicity and fast-paced steps"
Nearly forty dancers and musicians from across the globe come together in Heartbeat of Home, a dynamic dance extravaganza by the producers of Riverdance. The show has wowed audiences in Ireland, North America, Germany and China, and has found its current home at the Piccadilly Theatre for a limited period.
Devised by John McColgan and Moya Doherty, Heartbeat of Home has a distinctly Irish theme flowing throughout, and choreographer David Bolger expertly mixes sensual flamenco, sultry tango, tap dancing, hip-hop and stunning Irish Riverdance together to make an exciting melting pot of cultures.
It’s all backed by an impressive six-piece band that sits on the side-lines of the stage. The accompanying music by Brian Byrne and Joseph O’Connor is beautifully haunting at times, especially when vocalist Lauren Azania showcases her incredible talent with her poignant vocals. The musicians are excellent, with violin, saxophone, trumpet and a variety of other instruments providing the exciting soundtrack to the production. Mark Alfred particularly shone as drummer and percussionist, as he made his way to centre stage to interact with some of the dancers which provided an element of humour to some of the performances.
There is no storyline to Heartbeat of Home, but the projections of railway lines, desert landscapes, panoramic city skylines and lightning storms play out across the background behind the dancers, bringing a bit of context to the show. Featured Irish dances Gianna Petracic and Jason O’Neill captivate the audience from the start with their intense expressions and sharp moves, with the rest of the cast being just as enchanting.
The second act lost its mystery slightly and felt a bit slower and less magical than the first, although a highlight came during the recreation of the Lunch atop a Skyscraper photograph, which a selection of the male dancers performed. The visual effects were impressive, enabling the audience to almost feel like they were tiptoeing on the skyscraper with the dancers themselves.
The astonishing synchronicity and fast-paced steps of the Irish dance, fused with fascinating movements from around the world and accompanied by the talented band, made for an enjoyable evening of dance with an Irish heart. It is well worth a trip to see the world-class entertainers of Heartbeat of Home, especially if you think you’ll enjoy excellent dance from around the world set to the beat of Ireland.
Review by Alice Bzowska
4 September 2019, Piccadilly Theatre