State Theatre, Sydney
Reviewed by Lara Stretton
You don’t need to be a lover of Irish dancing to enjoy this amazing show!
It has something for everyone – comedy, singing, great live music from popular Irish bands, and of course the phenomenal dancing.
Performing to a packed house in Sydney, the show explores the history of Irish dancing and gives it a modern swing which was unique and refreshing.
Celebrated Irish dance choreographer and co-producer Peta Anderson has selected top Australian Irish dancers, adding a couple of Internationals to round-out the cast of fifteen incredible talent.
In creating her choreography, she has released the stoic upper body rigidity so well-recognised in this genre to include choreographed arm movements in a lightning-fast series of routines with explosive complexity. Anderson’s choreography includes the use of props such as brooms and sound-boxes and at times swings the narrative in a completely unexpected direction with the addition of seasoned ballroom dance talents, Alexandra Vladimirov and William Tukia-Edwards. When tango meets Irish dance, magic is made!
Anderson co-created the concept for Eireborne and is also the lead female Irish dancer in this production. She says she is driven by a desire to inspire the next generation after Riverdance by showcasing Irish dance in a fresh and innovative fashion.
Many of the dancers have been successful competitors in the Irish World Dance Championships including current World Irish Dance Champion Liam Costello whom we had the privilege of interviewing recently.
Liam says, “This show is definitely more of modern take on Irish dancing … Riverdance is more traditional and has all the arms down by your side, like turned out feet place, everything’s placed perfectly. This is more of a modern Irish tap fusion style show bringing it into a modern scene. It shows the evolution of Irish dance through fusions with tap.”
Eireborne is a celebration of all things Irish, boasting an energised six-piece band playing live rock music from Snow Patrol, Enya, U2, The Cranberries, Van Morrison, The Script and more. The band of six insane instrumentalists under the direction of percussionist, Andy Horvath, deliver a riveting rock production.
Pete Murphy acted as an entertaining host with stunning vocals. Sharing solos and duets with outstanding vocalist Reigan Derry, the pair enhanced the narrative and spectacle of the performance. In 2021, Derry notched up four #1 songs and performed at festivals in LA and New York with her current single featuring on Bombs Away, the cover of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the Eireborne tour,” said Reigan. “Having Irish heritage myself, the culture is close to my heart – I proudly carry the Derry surname.”
Pete Murphy has been performing in major shows and live concerts throughout Australia and the world for the past 20 years in productions such as Les Miserables, Rent and Shout! in Australia and as Galileo in London’s West End production of We Will Rock You.
“I grew up with Irish sing-alongs under our neighbour’s house and my Dad still plays folk music at the pub each week,” said Pete. “So, this is really something I’ve been training for my whole life.”
Production elements of Eireborne are sleek including simple settings with constantly changing LED screens, smart costuming, and excellent lighting design. The interwoven humour infused throughout the show together with excellent performances, was well received by a delighted audience.
It’s great that live performances are back and this is one show that needs to be seen – you’ll come out with your feet tapping, rocking out U2 anthems and marvelling at the polished spectacle of this production!