The six manly men who comprise Tap Dogs sure know how to dance on the edge.
. . . And the ceiling. And ladders, metal scaffoldings, wood floors, oversized drum pads and water troughs.Although the Dogs came close to tapping on water, they might as well have danced on air. Their feet moved so fast that their torsos appeared to float from point to point.
Yes, Tap Dogs can dance almost anywhere, and that's a feat (or should we say feet) considering the fact that the guys don't wear shiny patent leather oxfords. No, these muscular, blue-collar-looking dudes wear hefty Blundstone work boots that are fitted with heavy-duty, heavy-metal taps.
In fact, many who had never seen Tap Dogs before will now look at tap dancing in a whole new way.
This ain't Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Nor is it Gene Kelly or Shirley Temple.
Tap Dogs is testosterone and industrial grit rolled into one. But it ain't Nine Inch Nails. It's a competitive tapping form of breakdancing, without any reference to Shabadoo.
Tuesday's peformance was loud. It wasn't enough that the floors were microphoned so the audience could hear the boot taps, but there were a couple of live musicians who specialized in percussion and some guitar and keyboards.
But rhythms and music weren't the only aspect of the show. There was a lot of humor. Muscle posings and wimpy drum pads comprised a sight gag that worked well. So did the bumbling-male-oaf bit.
Speaking of sights, there was a spark-laden number done with synchronized electric buzz saws, a multi-level scaffolding romp and a jagged-edged stage that split into eight different angles, thanks to a network of chains and rope.
However, one of the most memorable visuals of the evening involved water. The opening sequence, for example, used water in an unattractive body function gag that had the audience in tears (laughing, that is). While near the end, the dancers tromped in a water-filled trough.
And that "Tap Water" scene got more hilarious as the first three rows quickly slipped on the water-proof ponchos that were provided by the Capitol Theatre staff.
The Tap Dogs - led by dance director Nathan Sheens - swished, kicked and stomped water all over the stage and into the audience.
Other props included a basketball, which became a metronome, vertical steel ladders on which the guys would stomp, and other metal grids and beams.
While this company is not the original Tap Dogs, the mission, attitude and effect are the same.
Somewhere between the opening sequence and the first three minutes, the six tappers captured the hearts of the audience. And by the time the last drop of water hit the ground, the mesmerized audience stood for a rousing ovation.
A note of caution: The performance is loud. Those with sensitive ears should bring ear plugs. Also, this is a family show, but aside from the opening water sequence, the only potentially offensive aspect of the performance might be the smoking of cigarettes on stage.