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Hot Shoe Shuffle - Theatre Review

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
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Hot shoes, hot music, hot dancers
This show has a pedigree and celebrates its 21st birthday this year. It earned a Lawrence Olivier award for choreography in London, an ARIA for its soundtrack, 4 Mo awards, 2 Green Room awards, and an Advance Australia award. It has played sell-out seasons in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, and featured in 3 television specials in Australia, Japan and the UK.

The plot? Oh yes the plot. The website tells us, "The seven Tap Brothers (Spring, Slap, Buck, Wing, Tip, Tap and Slide) learn of the death of their long-absent father, who has apparently left them a fortune. The only catch is that to receive their inheritance, they must rehearse and perform his legendary 'Act' the Hot Shoe Shuffle. In addition, they must also include their long-lost sister, April, in the act. The only problem is she has two left feet!"

But the show isn't really about the story (or the jokes) - if you are looking for an epic tale of love, villains, and feel-good moments, don't come. If you come for the jokes - they haven't stood the test of time and heavily rely on slap-stick which is well executed but done to death.

If however you want to be wowed by top-notch performers, brilliant tap dancing and the quickest feet in town then this is the show for you. And if you love Big Band music of the 40s that's a bonus.

The second half was by far the better half and this was most probably because the story was wrapped up in the first 10 minutes and then the focus of the second half was on the tap dancing show which the brothers, April and their father put on.

David Atkins (who conceived, directed, produced, co-choreographed and starred in the show as Max Renfield) was brilliant and made everything he did look easy. There were stand out performances from Jaz Flowers as April and Bobby Fox as Slide. Jaz Flowers (yes, really!) took on the role of April, and though she was channeling Ronda Birchmore (for whom the original role of April was especially written by David Atkins) yet she put her own spin on the character as well. There were some teething problems with the sound, but they were soon sorted out.

The audience ranged from the "wrinklies" who probably saw the show first time around, to youngsters who were clearly loving what they saw particularly in the second half. All of them rose at the end to give the performers a lengthy standing ovation, which their incredible athleticism and dancing skill had well and truly earned.

Please Note

There's a special for younger people to see the show. Patrons aged between 13 and 21 can purchase front row seats for any performance of Hot Shoe Shuffle for just $20. All you have to do is visit the Box Office at QPAC on the day of the performance you wish to attend, show your ID and front row seats can be yours for only $20! Tickets will be first in, best dressed and only available to buy on the day of the show. Limited to one per person.

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When: From 6 May to 26 May
Where: QPAC Lyric Theatre
Cost: $79 - $ 110 ($20 special)
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