Thursday, 5 September 2019

REVIEW: Heartbeat of Home at the Piccadilly Theatre

Heartbeat of Home is from the Producers and Director of Riverdance. After a sold out run at the London Palladium, the show has transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre for a limited 5 week run. The show is a collection of traditional Irish dancing, Latin and Afro-Cuban music and live music performers. With a large cast of 37, including the onstage band and vocalist, it is a fun, upbeat, visual performance that is very enjoyable.

John Mcolgan’s concept is the introduction to different cultures, merging together through dance. There is little in the way of a storyline, with only 2 voice overs to describe the onstage narrative but it is mostly interpreted through dance and song. Heartbeat of Home remains light-hearted with no deeper meaning. Brian Byrne’s composition is exciting and diverse, the show is incredibly cheesy and the music supports this. I particularly enjoyed how much personality the band had and how they were also a major part of the production, as well as how smoothly vocalist, Lauren Azania, fit into the performances. The projections on the large screen behind the performers were what makes Heartbeat of Home stand out. David Torpey’s projection design was magnificent and took us from sunsets over the sea, to New York and Cuba. For the most part, these were incredibly realistic and completely immersive- the top of the Empire State building being a particular stand out moment. However, to add to the corniness, the very large moons in the night sky did not do the slow dances any favours for drawing out emotions.

John Carey’s Irish dance choreography showed off the astonishing footwork of the talented dancers. The contrast between street dance, contemporary and the core Irish was well connected, with credit to David Bolger. The dancers had excellent onstage energy, were perfectly synchronised and looked delighted to be performing. They were complimented by Monica Ennis and Niamh O’Connor’s classy (and very sparkly) costumes- I couldn’t keep up with the costume changes!

For those who have an interest in professional dance, I’m not sure if this is the show for them. It is sexy and entertaining, but I believe it is targeted at an older audience who are more enthused by the cheesy songs and visuals. 

Review by Hannah Storey

Rating: ★★★

Seat: Stalls M13 | Price of Ticket: £66.70

Click here to buy tickets

This production was reviewed on the 4th September, the official press night is n the 11th September. 
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