Co-choreographed by Jack Chambers (one of the dancers and a previous winner of So You Think You Can Dance Australia), and Raw Dance Company founder Andrew Fee, the show is a rollicking romp through acrobatics, flamenco rhythms, barrel turns and in-your-face sassiness.
All five dancers are outstanding, with the powerful duet between Sally Hare and Jack Chambers the icing on the cake.
There’s a wonderful section where all dancers are engaged in conversations on their cell phones, the vocal counterpoints almost morphing into song before they get put on hold and the band swings into a popular piece of “hold” music: “The Girl From Ipanema”. The tappers sync their movements to the slower pace and we’re all on “hold”.
Genesis Cerezo’s beat-boxing fills the space between taps with pizzazz. He’s obviously very comfortable on a stage interacting with the audience, and we’re constantly asked how we’re going. Children scream their responses.
A rapid-fire conversation between drummer Brendan Ramnath and Cerezo, where Ramnath is air-drumming and Cerezo is vocalising the drum beats, was simple but effective.
There’s a thong dance and a flipper dance, a barefoot dance and a slap dance (with the thongs). Fee and Chambers have pulled out every trick in the book and the kids love it. Which is a good thing – it may get more of them into dance.
The question for me is why wasn’t this advertised as a children’s show? With over-loud music that often muffled the tap beats, repetitive cannon movements and recycled tap steps, it’s not a show that in any way promotes the art of tap dance – its light and shade, subtle percussion and raw innovative energy. And does choreographic integrity have to be sacrificed to make it engaging family entertainment?
Untapped is worth five stars in the talent department, but as a tap show for adults it is lacking conceptually. It’s a great show to take the kids to.
Untapped is at the Vagabond Theatre, Garden of Unearthly Delights, until March 13.
Review by Jenny Toune