The Australian-made production has taken the idea of a tap show and not only modernised it, but reinvented it completely.
Unbeknownst to most of the audience, The Tap Pack‘s Adelaide Cabaret Festival show began in the foyer of the Dunstan Playhouse. A busker played on a wooden box as the crowd started filtering into the theatre; some walked past without even noticing, others stopped and listened curiously. Once all were seated, the busker leapt onto the stage and continued performing. He chose a child from the audience, got him to take over the box and urged the rest of us to clap along. He then put on some tap shoes and tapped to the beat, until he was dragged away by two other cast members. The show started with a burst of energy and a room full of laughter, immediately injecting the audience with good vibes. The Tap Pack were then introduced, each cast member mirroring styling cues from the Rat Pack and embodying their own unique character, each with humorous backgrounds and talents. There was Junior the reluctant magician, Hank the singer raised by cougars, Tommy the not so smart and Marty the one with 65 years of experience. The busker came back out and joined the crew as Blue: the short one subjected to constant Hobbit jokes. Along with the six-piece band, the cast projected an energy and passion that was contagious. The narrative structure gave each member the freedom to showcase their individuality, as well as a variety of tap styles. Ben Brown and Sean Mulligan impressed the crowd with their astonishing vocal chords, mixing old sounds with new. Christopher Horsey and Jesse Rasmussen had spectacular tap solos, with Rasmussen giving a nod to his inspirations Sammy Davis Jnr, Sinatra and Fred Astaire. But the stand-out was Thomas Egan, who came out with a flawless performance, breathing life into the beauty of tap dancing and revealing why his nickname is “Rocket”. Overall, the most impressive part was The Tap Pack’s use of the theatre. Every inch of the stage, every prop, every band member and, especially, everyone in the audience was used. As soon as you arrived in the Dunstan Playhouse you were part of the show. The Tap Pack captured the perfect balance of dance, humour and musical theatre. The Australian-made production has taken the idea of a tap show and not only modernised it, but reinvented it completely. It’s an entertaining show that deserves to be seen.
Words by Giselle Bueti