Heartbeat of Home: Piccadilly Theatre, London.
Reviewed 6th September 2019
From the producer and director of Riverdance comes Heartbeat of Home. Billed as a music and dance spectacular it features a unique mix of traditional Irish, Latin and Afro-Cuban music and dance. Utilising the talents of thirty-seven dancers and a ten-piece band Heartbeat of Home is a high energy, passionate dance show.
The original music, written by award-winning, Golden Globe nominated composer Brian Byrne, is performed by the incredible band excellently. It is great to see the band onstage throughout the show and having chances to perform centre stage too. The music fits the themes and adds to the use of the digital backdrop at the back of the stage. The use of digital imagery is visually stunning. Vivid and bright, it tells a story on its own and provides a startling background for the dancers themselves.
The dancers are technically exquisite. The Irish dancing in particular shows off tremendous amount of skill and talent and their timing is brilliant. The lead dancers Gianna Petracic and James Greenan take centre stage with ease and lead the troupe with grace. All of the dancers are energetic and clearly experts in their area. The idea to mix genres and dance styles is a good one but at times it feels uneven. The contemporary, hip hop dancers, for example, do not have the same amount of stage time and at times it feels like they are underused, particularly Ella Redhead who is clearly a hugely talented dancer but is not given the opportunity to show this.
Whilst the dancing is outstanding, the lack of narrative does hinder the show as some of the scenes do not fit and affect the flow of the production. There are some excellent scenes however where the storytelling is brilliant, the scene with talented singer Lauren Azania and contemporary dancer Onyemachi Ejimofor is one of the standout moments of the show. As is the tap section where the male dancers are able to show off their brilliant talent and timing whilst also seemingly having fun.
Obviously most audience members will be expecting Riverdance style Irish dancing full of jumps, flicks, formation and incredible footwork and they will certainly not be disappointed! The Irish choreography is clever and innovative, allowing the dancers to show off their undeniable talents. Whilst Heartbeat of Home feels more of a dance showcase at times, it is bursting with energy and passion. Definitely a must for dance fans!
Heartbeat of Home is playing at the Piccadilly Theatre, London until the 13th October 2019. For tickets and information click here.
This review was originally written for and published by LondonTheatre1
Photo Credit: Matt Crockett