Tap Dancer Matt Papa and Percussionist Lindsay Evans have a very clear idea why Tap Dogs, currently playing at Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast, is the perfect show for the festive season.
"The show speaks to pretty much anyone; any age, male or female, young or old. There's no dialogue, so it's easy for everyone to understand. There's a bit of music in there, a bit of fun, a bit of humour. It's something that everyone can come to," said Matt, who's been touring with the show for the past five years.
"It really is for everyone, the whole family thing. But it is true, that's what Christmas is about," echoed Lindsay.
Tap Dogs is arguably one of Australia's greatest performing arts success stories - Dein Perry created the dance phenomenon 18 years ago with its premiere at the Sydney Theatre Festival in January 1995. Since then, the show has toured continuously, delighting more than 12 million people in over 330 cities across 37 countries. A world-wide television audience of 3.4 billion people cheered on the Dogs when they appeared in the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
This was the production that made performing cool long before the television shows So You Think You Can Dance and Glee, and before the movie Billy Elliot and its subsequent musical incarnation. This is just six knockabout Aussie blokes who happen to be tapping on an industrial construction site. There are no top hats and tails here - just boots, rugby balls and metal saws. Despite the production's age, the show looks and feels as relevant today, as it did when it was devised.
"The show itself is best described as being part theatre, part construction site, part rock concert. I play drums; I play quite a lot of different drums from the kit to Latin percussion and also vibes and piano. I studied classically and then unlearnt it all and toured with loads of pop people and formed my own rock band and did that for a bit. And then some theatre stuff. This is an amalgamation - Dein liked that I had a rock and roll background and that I wasn't just in an orchestra," said Lindsay.
Lindsay, together with a second drummer Noriko Terada, provides the rhythm for the six tap dogs that all have individual characters.
"My role in the show is the Enforcer. It sounds so ridiculous. He's a little bit dopey, bosses everyone around a little bit. There are six different characters in the show. We all do the same thing; tap dance like maniacs for 80 minutes. Another good thing about the show is that it doesn't stop, there's no break in the show. It just keeps flowing and the audience comes on board," said Matt.
Matt originally hails from Canberra but when he's not touring with the show, he now calls Sydney home.
"There's a place called Gordon's Bay that would have to be my favourite spot in Sydney. It's near Coogee in the Eastern Suburbs. It feels like this escape in the middle of the city. It's beautiful. You can swim there but there are no waves," he said.
On the other hand, Lindsay is originally from the south coast of England, but has been based in London for the past 10 years.
"My advice for travellers to London is to just get on one of the bridges; they offer such a beautiful view over London and you can see all the sights that you see in the movies. I quite like Albert Bridge because it looks like a wedding cake, pink and really girly and yet it's called Albert Bridge," she said.
Since arriving on the Gold Coast, Lindsay has been admiring the local life guards.
"I quite like the life guards, to be honest. It's a cliché but the beaches are pretty awesome. Kurrawa Beach would have to be my favourite. The sunrise is so beautiful," said Lindsay.
"I'm going to Sydney for New Year's Eve. My boyfriend is coming over from England for Christmas and New Year's so he's like, 'We've got to go to Sydney to watch the fireworks.' We're staying with friends who have an apartment that overlooks the harbour. Sydney's a really cool place to hang out."
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