By Wendy Carson
The Rhythm Chronicles strives to give the viewer a history lesson on the evolution of tap dancing in America. However, much of this is done through the use of a pre-recorded “conversation” between two disembodied voices. Not only is this device sluggish and often condescending, it greatly detracts from the dancing itself, which is the whole point of the show. Also, it doesn’t help that the voices speak over a dark empty stage, further making the show feel disjointed.
That said, let’s talk about the dancing. From the opening Irish step-dancer and African tribal performer, the dance numbers highlighted are wonderful. The skill, athleticism as well as the style are all excellent and the dancers are all a joy to watch. Each number builds upon the previous, leading up to a grand finale that is worth the whole ticket price alone.
Hopefully, Circle City Tap Company will find a way to rework this show with a better narrative tool so it can be the fully realized gem that the show should be.
And a note for hoofers of any skill: all in the audience are invited down to the stage at the end to join in the Shim-Sham Shimmy.
Performances are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 26-28, on the Phoenix Theatre main stage. Info and tickets at indyfringefestival.com.