David Atkins helms and stars in this all-singing, all-tapping remount of his blockbuster ’90s musical comedy
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Talk about mishmash: Hot Shoe Shuffle is set in New York City circa the 1940s; hangs its rags-to-riches narrative off big-band hits, jazz standards and showtunes from the ’30s (à la Duke Ellington, Glen Miller and Irving Berlin); splashes them in the Technicolor hues of ’50s musical comedies (think Singin’ in the Rain and AnAmerican in Paris); and peppers its comedy with pop-cultural references to The Simpsons, spaghetti westerns and Star Wars.
But all this is just an excuse for the tap numbers – which are frequent, fast and fantastic. Created by David Atkins and Dein Perry as a vehicle for their specific skillsets, this is the musical that spurred the Tap Dogs phenomenon of the ’90s. It is said that one reviewer quipped of the original production (starring a baby-faced Adam Garcia playing one of the seven ‘Tap Brothers’) that the energy could light up Sydney.
Twenty-one years later, with a fresh, young cast (including incandescent Hairspray star Jaz Flowers and Atkins taking up the older role of Max), the production has lost none of its crackle – we’d go so far as to say that the seven Tap Brothers work up a sweat that could irrigate the Simpson Desert. It’s irresistible, infectious stuff. (Time Out Sydney reviewed the opening night of Hot Shoe Shuffle in May at Brisbane's QPAC)