Quarantunes: Michael Flatley’s Tribute to Ireland and Yankee Doodle

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Well, fiddle dee dee.

Well, fiddle dee dee. The Shows Must Go On

As Big Gay Al once said, “the whole world’s gone to hell. But how are you?”

Between the pandemic, the police, and a dead iguana found in a pizza restaurant’s freezer, 2020 has been rough. It sure would be nice to have something weird to laugh about, and that’s why I’m delighted that Andrew Lloyd Webber has chosen to surprise us by making a completely bonkers Irish dance show available to watch this weekend.

It’s part of his “The Shows Must Go On” series of stage-to-screen adaptations, a different show screened every weekend to raise money for charity. This weekend’s selection is the show Celtic Tiger, featuring Michael Flatley (the Lord of the Dance guy) and it is absolutely bonkers.

Flatley, if you’re not familiar, is the ostentatious dancer who created a weird mid-90s fad of Irish step-dancing, driving audiences (primarily PBS moms) into a frenzy for fiddles and tap shoes.

When he toured through Connecticut, maaaaaaany years ago, I went to see him with my parents and I remember virtually nothing about it because his shows are like a drug-addled vision that you typically need anesthesia to experience. He’ll blast you with lights, fast music, a billion costume changes, and a frantic stompy style that obliterates your ability to process any information whatsoever. I love it.

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His Celtic Tiger show comes as close to achieving high camp as heterosexual glands allow. Without dialogue, it tells the story of Ireland’s history back to snakey times (this should give you a sense of just how historically accurate the whole shebang is) through the struggle against British occupation and then, for some reason, it becomes a tribute to America??? Nothing can prepare you for the sharp left turn into American patriotism, leading up to a finale that heavily features Yankee Doodle.

The show was filmed around 2005, and it’ll be available to watch starting this Friday and ending on Sunday. That a musical about defeating the British is also a fundraiser for Britain’s NHS is not even remotely the weirdest thing about it.

Oh and by the way, Wave Edibles are on sale at The Reef this weekend, just so you know.

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