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The Heart of Irish Tradition Beats Strong.

I had no expectations as I took my seat in the stalls mid evening, the crowd shushing around me and the last few shufflers finding their chairs. After a warm welcome to the show with Plastic Fantastic opening the set, a beautiful rendition of Summerfly was performed by Katherine Allan. I say warm welcome because it felt as if I was sitting in on a big family reunion of sorts, where all were part of the extended family. The stage was set with simple yet stylish banners & lighting, and the Sasta musicians sat perched on their stools keen to get on with the show. A few introductions were made and then the traditional step dancing began. As the fiery, champion dancers took the floor, my breath was taken away by their remarkable talent. It was clear that the heart of tradition was beating strongly throughout this first set of the performance.

The team performed in great gusto with traditional green velvet dresses for the ladies & a smart casual look for the guys, which was followed through the night by some creative costume changes. We were treated to some amazing instrumental pieces and a couple of bold narratives from Irish Joe, a true life seanchai from County Cork. Irish Joe’s epic, memorised story telling had me laughing and crying, what a marvellous troubadore. By the time the lights signalled intermission, all the audience were chattering delightedly about the show so far. Soon the bell rang, we all gathered in to our chairs once more and without further ado the magnificent dancers kicked up their heels again.

As the first half of the evening went, so did the second. In full tradition of tale and song; the dancers got among the audience and even the daughter of one of the musicians, performed on stage. Much merriment and enjoyment, signalled by the cheers and claps, was tell that all had thoroughly enjoyed the show. All involved had obviously worked together with much love and effort. I must say, having never experienced anything like this before, I entered without expectation and was rewarded with a supremely entertaining evening. The dancing was electric, the talented musicians truly in tune with each other, and the flow of the whole evening was a fully engaging, interactive night of folklore and folly.

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