Left – David Atkins. Cover – Jaz Flowers and the Tap Brothers
Seven brothers are a tap-dancing team with names to match Tip, Tap, Slide and Slap. The opening scene features a dour Scottish lawyer reading the contents of their father’s will. Each will receive a lucrative inheritance if they present a reprise of their Dad’s tap dancing extravaganza. There’s one catch. They must include their sister April Showers (Jaz Flowers) who they didn’t know existed, and, there’s only four weeks to rehearse. David Atkins is elegant as Dexter. The brothers dress in eye-boggling red, yellow, turquoise and purple suits with strident, clashing ties.
Eldest brother Spring (Bobby Fox from Jersey Boys) struts around ruling the roost delivering corny jokes of the Christmas Cracker variety. The talented, dancers fire stunning toe-tapping routines, which get better and slicker and more virtuosic as the show progresses. Storyline is on the clunky side for sure and creaks into gear at the start. Once the intensely rhythmical dancing taps up an electrifying percussive storm, the crowd surrenders to this heart- in- the- mouth, flagrantly silly, bling-fuelled song and dance show splashed with glitz and glam from the Big Band era.
Flowers lights up the stage, milking the screwball humour for all it’s worth in a honey babe American twang. She skilfully goofs up rehearsals crashing into the not-to-be-won-over Spring. Flowers has a lovely, persuasive voice that especially shines in soulful ballads. And, she brings pzazz and her own lexicon of smouldering pouts when channelling the Rita Hayworth and Ginger Rogers glamour stars of the forties in the more inspired second half. Flowers models those long shimmer dresses, clouds of diaphanous chiffon floating behind her, with attitude plus.
The glimmering silver staircase and glittering look is so authentic it’s possible to imagine Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers could drop by and make a surprise appearance at any moment. Never mind, Max Patterson drilled a breathtaking, show-stopping, spinning impression of Astaire anyway.
The 24-strong play list buzzes with show stoppers; Shall We Dance, Puttin’ On The Ritz and Ellington’s It Don’t Mean A Thing. It’s probably churlish to mention but the male tappers, though absolutely amazing on their feet, are not so gifted vocally. Ideally, there could be more back up singers to boost the vocal elan. Nevertheless, the music fires because of Flowers, the Band’s convincing, syncopated swing and the we-will-give-it-all-we-got regardless tappers. Morgan Junior-Larwood deserves credit for his funny incarnation of dull-brained Slap. Mitchell Hicks is hilarious as the uber smart Wing.
This old school entertainment is a charmer. And, the extraordinary investment of energy by the cast triggered a standing ovation from a delighted audience.
David Atkins Enterprises presents
HOT SHOE SHUFFLE
Australian Tour 2013
Venue: Lyric Theatre, QPAC
Dates: 4 – 28 May, 2013
Tickets: $125.00 – $79.00
Bookings: QPAC 136 246 | www.qpac.com.au