HSS Tap bros on tap truck jazz hands-002

They don’t make them like this anymore. Musical theatre fans will adore this. It’s hard to believe that this is HOT SHOE SHUFFLE’s 21st anniversary revival!  It’s one of those ‘old fashioned’ feel –good ‘let’s put on a show’ musicals that showcase the jaw-dropping talents of a superb cast.

The show when it opened originally led to a resurgence of interest and development in tap dancing (and led to Dein Perry’s ‘Tap Dogs’). It is very demanding and the cast have to be able to do the ‘triple threat’ as well as specialise in scintillating tap. The different sorts of tap styles are shown – from the elegant, top hat and tails of Fred Astaire   contrasting with the freer, more showbiz style of Ray Bolger.

It’s a rather silly musical comedy plot about The Tap Brothers – all seven of them (yes seven! Spring, Slap, Buck, Wing, Tip, Tap and Slide). And yes there are ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ jokes, their long lost sister April (or is she?) and a dead father’s will with a huge fortune (Is he? And is the fortune real? All will be revealed).

The show dazzles and delights and is sheer joy. The dancing is phenomenal. The infectious rhythms have you dancing in your seat. It’s bold, bright and colourful (in the first half the brothers look at time like extra Wiggles).

In the second half especially there are some great lighting effects.  There are also some film and theatre in-jokes ( ‘Star Wars ‘,’ ‘Dirty Harry’ ,’ Aliens ‘ and ‘King Kong’) for example in the corny but witty script)and are we meant to pick up allusions to ‘Singing in the Rain’ and Matthew Bourne’s ‘Swan Lake’?

The band, hidden for roughly two thirds of the show is incredible. When we do get to see them, they are displayed in a marvelous 1930’s art deco/Glen Miller style set featuring a large staircase.

All seven of the incredible Tap Bros are marvelous, each of them having short solos, but special mention must be made of Spring ((Bobby Fox) who brings the house down and literally stops the show by causing a standing ovation in his jaw dropping solo in the Act 1 ‘Tap Jam’ . And his ‘Song and Dance Man’ solo in Act 2 is pretty brilliant too.

As their klutzy, two left feet (yeah sure) red haired  ‘sister’  April we have the stunning Jaz Flowers. She is marvelous and leads her ‘brothers’ in a cheeky ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ in Act 1 and is a sultry glamorous, dreamy torch singer in Act 2 (‘How Long Has This Been Going On’ ?).

Theatre legend and the man who started the whole thing ,David Atkins , is delightful in his roles as Aloysius Shyster/Max King/Dexter Tap .He has a fabulous time throughout and is terrific in his rather poignant solo in the second Act ( ‘ Mood Indigo’ ).

The last part of the show is the ‘HOT SHOE SHUFFLE’ itself, the act the brothers are reunited for which pulls out all the glitzy stops to magnificent effect. So , yes, this includes a glamorous, very difficult tapping up and down lit staircases and a glow- in- the -dark cane tossing routine.

The delighted ‘Tap God’ rumbled his approval and the audience for opening night gave it a huge  standing ovation at the end, the like of which I haven’t seen in years.

HOT SHOE SHUFFLE, with a running time of 2 hours and 40 minutes including one interval, is playing at the Lyric Theatre until Sunday August 4, 2013.