Tap into this!
By Christine Moffat
The story of Hot Shoe Shuffle, in essence, is of the seven ‘Tap Brothers’ who are called to New York for the reading of their father’s will and to meet April, their long-lost sister. To gain their inheritance, they must recreate their father’s famous act ‘The Hot Shoe Shuffle’, and it must include the dance-challenged April.
Hot Shoe Shuffle is an original Australian show, but created in the form of an old-time movie musical, and the current season at Her Majesty’s Theatre is the 21st anniversary production. Despite the show’s classic format, it is hard to believe it was written two decades ago, as it has all the vibrancy and energy of a debut season.
The first half of the show is like tutti-frutti icecream: a brightly coloured sugar-rush of comedy, condensed plot twists, slapstick humour, great music and dynamic tap numbers. The second half, mainly the famous review act ‘The Hot Show Shuffle’, is like champagne sorbet. It is elegant, ritzy, and jam-packed with dance routines reminiscent of a black-and-white Fred Astaire film.
The score is a who’s who of timeless composers, including songs from Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Ira Gershwin and Peter Allen. The costumes for this production by Janet E Hine are a master class in what wonderful costuming can bring to a show, contributing to creating and developing the characters before our eyes. And the choreography (David Atkins, Dein Perry, Drew Anthony) showcases the versatility of tap, including routines that were romantic, drop-dead glamorous and a sensational drunken dance by the brothers.
Jaz Flowers as April is reminiscent of a young Lucille Ball, using comedy, sex appeal and her knockout voice to full advantage. Bobby Fox as Spring is surprisingly funny, vulnerable, almost accidentally charming, and refreshingly different to a stereotypical ‘leading man’.
David Atkins (also producer and director) makes a classy transition from his role as Spring in original production to wise mentor/slave-driver Max in this run, and yes, he can definitely still dance! All of the cast are excellent dancers and their dance solos were fantastic, but stand-out performances includded Morgan Junor-Larwood as the gung-ho Slap and Mason Schaube as the adorable, but a bit slow on the uptake Slide.
The level of entertainment and fun in this show is phenomenal. At the preview the cast received a well-deserved standing ovation. A word of caution though – The Hot Shoe Shuffle is infectious: if you see the show, you may feel compelled to take tap lessons…
Melbourne dates: Aug 12 – Sept 8
Show times: Tues 1pm/ Wed 1pm & 8pm/ Thurs & Fri 8pm/ Sat 2pm & 8pm/ Sun 3pm
Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre, 219 Exhibition St
Tickets: Premium from $110*/ A Reserve from $89*/ Groups 10+ from $69*/ Family from $276*/ Schools/Dance Schools groups 10+ $50* *(*booking fees apply)
Official website: www.hotshoeshuffle.com