Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs is a tap show unlike any other. The execution is crisp and slick; each inventive segment is an exciting watch, with an innovative use of set and lighting alongside complex choreography. Forget the elegant moves of Fred Astaire, here the set is a gritty construction site and its dynamic cast of six are dressed for a day’s manual labour.
An Australian sensation, Tap Dogs was devised by Dein Perry in 1994 with the show debuting at the 1995 Sydney Festival. It has gone on to receive numerous international awards and enjoyed a lengthy run of uninterrupted touring around the world.
On first inspection the set appears simple, if a little haphazard, with a central platform for tapping and a staircase behind, but with each new section the set unfolds to create a fresh setting, and the cast act as workmen on a building site. There are metal arches which they swing from, and platforms created from steel girders that are later filled with water to create a memorable finale. With each set change the technical demands increase.
Each dancer brings their own style and flair that Perry incorporates into the staging and choreography. As the foreman, Anthony Russo is the leader of the tap pack, who orchestrates the set changes. He takes great pleasure in berating the show’s youngest contributor, Kid Reid Perry, whose cheeky asides to the audience ensure popularity.
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