The Tap Pack
Dunstan Playhouse, Fri 5 Jun
The show began surprisingly with a busker and a beat box trying to warm the crowd up with some street humour and audience participation. The busker turned out to be one of the Tap crew. This routine occupied a full 15 minutes until the band took their position on stage and the complete Tap Pack appeared and it was a relief when they did. Only then did things move into ‘tap gear.’
The idea of a Tap Pack was inspired by the so called Rat Pack of Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. and so we’re treated to plenty of swing arrangements from that time, all accompanied by some mesmerising dance. There is a lot of clowning around together, with some of the comic routines based on the seedier side of the lives of the original Rat Pack.
But it is the music and dance that hold this show together. Lots of wonderfully energetic ensemble routines – the best of which was a slick medley of hip-hop type numbers – but I think I preferred the stripped back moments: a solo dancer’s tributes to Sammy Davis Jr. and Fred Astaire were simply brilliant and showed why their dance moves have become classics of popular culture. And the scene where one of the Pack taps out beats and time signatures to entice the band to join in was a clever mix of music and dance and great theatre.
Their two main singers both have fine voices and delivered an engaging mix of old and ‘swingified’ new tunes from the likes of Justin Timberlake and Ed Sheeran. A dance-off between members of the audience was good fun, and the whole thing was seamlessly held together by a great band.
Tap dancing is a joy to watch. Breathtaking in complexity and agility, and as one of the Pack said as he was lost in a blissful tapping moment, “tapping is fun!”
The Tap Pack continues at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, until Sat 6 Jun.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of Shan Turner