Tapeire (4 stars)

  • List.co.uk
  • 7 August 2006

This article is from 2006.

James Devine may be faster than Michael Flatley, but he is nowhere near as flash. With his plain black tap shoes, white sports socks and trouser legs rolled up, he strikes an unassuming pose for the current Guinness World Record holder for fastest taps per second (38, since you ask).

But what a pleasure it is to watch the Dublin-born Edinburgh resident (who knew the world’s fastest dancer lived in Festival city?) as he casually fires volley after volley of crisp taps from his perfectly ordinary-looking feet. Unlike some other Irish shows we could mention, Devine holds no truck with sequins and stick-on smiles. This is ‘Celtic tap’ - his signature blend of Irish dance, rhythm tap and out-there improv - in the raw; Irish dance unplugged (apart from the mics on his shoes).

With the aid of zany multi-percussionist Dave Boyd and über fiddler/composer Ashley MacIsaac, Devine drums up a pub-gig-like buzz in this compact venue. Live video feed and a slickly-packaged film montage (giving a potted history of Irish dance) lend gloss and narrative backbone. But frankly this lot could get the party going with a pair of tap shoes and a set of spoons. The next-generation tapper is Devine by name; divine by nature. (Ellie Carr)

Baby Belly, 0870 7453083, until 27 Aug, 6pm, £9-£10 (£8-£9).

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