Theatre Reviews: The Tap Pack & SOAP

The Tap Pack ★★★★

By Peter May

As a follow up to Australia’s hit tap dancing film and stage show Tap Dogs comes The Tap Pack. Kings of Swing Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. from their time in the Rat Pack inspire the show. Creator Jordan Pollard once noted that: “The Rat Pack were genuine friends on and off stage.  So too are The Tap Pack and I think audiences may be able to feel the friendships on stage and know that they are seeing great mates who love what they do!

Set amongst a kaleidoscopic stage and backed by a live band it mixes timeless style with innovative, energetic tap dancing featuring five talented, likeable Australian male entertainers singing and joking around.

The talent residing in those ten feet is considerable – the speed, the tricky manoeuvres, the rhythmic unison that sets your pulse racing, it’s all-present. Competent singing (and strong song choices) add a pleasant second layer to the dancing, in particular a well-constructed scene where vocals and tap come together to create an enjoyable mash-up of popular tunes by Beyoncé, Michael Buble and Ed Sheeran.

Scripted dialogue between moves can be a bit cheesy but their charm wins you over – particularly if you are one of the referenced ‘London Ladies’ in the audience.

The Tap Pack presents the type of fun, all-round entertainment the Peacock Theatre is renowned for. With swing music at its heart, it is a show full to the brim with tap-dancing, singing and witty banter that reflects the cheeky, old school coolness of its inspiration.

At the London Peacock Theatre until Sat 19 May, then touring the UK, and Australia.


Soap ★★★★

For most people slippery bathtubs can be a hazard to your health, unless you are one of the talented performers at Underbelly’s headlining act. You know summer is finally on the horizon when the enormous purple cow lands belly up on London’s Southbank.

Markus Pabst and Maximilian Rambaek are celebrating the 10th birthday of Soap with a high energy packed show including daring acrobatics, trapeze, juggling, opera, comedy, combined with of course soap and water. Throughout the 70 minutes the audience are treated to impressive displays of strength, dexterity and agility. Set to sketches and performances giving each member of the cast the chance to showcase their individual ability and expertise we are left in amazement to some, other in laughs and awe to others.

The closer you sit to the stage there is a chance you will get wet, as a curtain of rain falls more than once. The acts are backed by modified lyrics to well-known pieces of classical music as well as more familiar tunes such as Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, The Doors and Sia. There is a flamboyant level of confidence displayed by the muscular cast members and a stage presence that makes the difference between being a bit disconcerted and being thoroughly engaged.

Highlights include a dance involving mops and Jennifer Lindshield dazzling operatic voice throughout the show added something different and her versions of classics converted to bath themed lyrics humorous.

This is a show, which is guaranteed to thrill, and Soap means bath time can never be boring again.

SOAP is on until 17 June 2018 at Underbelly.