Dancing on Dangerous Ground

Previewed 3 December 1999, Opened 6 December 1999, Closed 5 February 2000 at the Drury Lane Theatre Royal in London

The stars of Riverdance - Colin Dunne and Jean Butler - in their own new sensational Irish dance show Dancing on Dangerous Ground in London for a strictly limited season.

The Irish Dance Show that dares to go a step beyond Celtic legend's most passionate and enduring love story - the tragic romance of Diarmuid and Grainne. Like Romeo and Juliet, like Lancelot and Guinevere, Diarmuid and Grainne become consumed by such overwhelming and reckless desire that the harmony of their world is shattered beyond redemption. Grainne is the beautiful yet wilful daughter of the Irish High King who has chosen to marry Finn McCool, a much older man and the revered leader of Ireland's warrior force, The Fianna. Diarmuid is Finn's most loyal and trusted comrade, dashing and handsome, a man who could set any woman's heart ablaze. On Finn and Grainne's wedding day Diarmuid and Grainne's paths fatefully collide igniting the flames of a wild, illicit passion and so begins their headlong flight into exile where a terrible fat awaits them.

Starring Jean Butler and Colin Dunne, supported by a thirty-strong elite company of Irish dancers and featuring a powerful and haunting original score by Seamus Egan, performed live. Dancing on Dangerous Ground promises to be the dance sensation for the new millennium.

The cast for Dancing on Dangerous Ground in London features Jean Butler as 'Graina' and Colin Dunne as 'Diarmuid' with Tony Kemp as 'Finn McCool'. The show is devised by Jean Butler and Colin Dunne with music by Seamus Egan and lyrics by Johnny Cunningham. This production is directed by Lindsay Dolan, with original direction by Ian Judge, set designs by Tim Hatley, costume designs by Frank Gardiner, lighting by Pat Collins, additional choreography by Michael Smith and original choreography by Jean Butler and Colin Dunne.

"Dancing on Dangerous Ground, Jean Butler and Colin Dunne's new Irish dancing show now running at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, follows on the heels (and toes) of Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance as an attempt to use the popular hoppy-skippy-stampy technique of the Irish dance style as an expressive medium for narrative drama. Judging by the ovation last Monday, the audience apparently didn't share my feeling that it failed. The plot, derived from a Celtic legend... is spun out to two hours of cumulative dullness... Seamus Egan's folk-based music for his Solas band keeps up a lively pace, with some dramatic drumming passages: all on tape except for one scene, when an onstage quartet wanders ineffectually into action.... Despite the exuberance and huge panache of the ensemble dancers in every set piece, there is a deadening sameness about it all - the men tap-stamping and the women skipping with cabrioles in every situation and at every opportunity." The Sunday Times

"In Dancing On Dangerous Ground Jean Butler and Colin Dunne and their talented company tap and stomp with great precision to the mostly pre-recorded music of Seamus Egan, but there are only so many steps you can do to diddley-diddley music and soulful laments and I feel I've seen them all. Perhaps this art form should be an Olympic event rather than an entertainment, in which case I would award gold medals all round. But Lindsay Dolan's production, which retells a legend about a nubile bride who leaves her older husband for a young buck with tragic consequences, struggles for credibility." The News of the World

"Dancing on Dangerous Ground is the latest in a line of shows cashing in on the Riverdance phenomenon - this one conceived by and starring the first couple of Irish dance, Jean Butler and Colin Dunne... The choreography is impressive. The effect of 28 dancers rapping out intricate rhythms at high volume generates a real theatrical thrill. Tim Hatley's futuristic marble-and-steel set also creates an ingenious architecture within which the dancers can constantly change formation. Addicts of Irish dance are guaranteed their fix of percussive adrenaline. But anyone anticipating the romance and tension of dramatic dance will be disappointed. Butler and Dunne do try to enlarge their limited dance language but as dancers they're too ill at ease in these alien steps to exploit their dramatic potential, while as actors they do little to animate their roles. When they are on Irish territory, however, they become a star turn... They are without doubt a class act - but in this show, with its insubstantial characters and dramatic pretensions, they are unfortunately on dangerous ground." The Guardian

Dancing on Dangerous Ground in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane previewed from 3 December 1999, opened on 6 December 1999 and closed on 5 February 2000.