Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

Riverdance - the 20th Anniversary Tour
National Tour
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's review of Sail Away

It has been almost fifteen years since I saw the amazing Irish dancers of Riverdance, and the current touring production, celebrating the show's 20th anniversary, features dancers that are equally amazing. This impressive production makes a brief appearance here in San Francisco, running only through November 8, at the Golden Gate Theatre. Riverdance is a legendary, innovative, and exciting blend of dance, music and song.

Riverdance depicts themes of the Irish people and of nature, and has been seen by over 25 million people in over 46 countries, playing over 11,000 performances and featuring over 2,000 Irish dancers. The show will continue to tour the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and Canada over the next eight months.

Riverdance opens with the pure voice of a female singer accompanied by four musicians, building up the suspense for what is to come. Suddenly, 20 Irish dancers enter the stage performing intricate footwork that is breathtaking. You can't help but stare at their feet, clanking and soaring across the stage in various formations. The dancers take the audience through nine scenes as fantastic projections on a large screen at the rear of the stage show the rain falling, feeding the river, which springs to life and flows.

It is is not all Irish dancing, as there are two sets of flamenco dances excitingly danced by Rocio Montoya, performing the Firedance and Andalusia, which are intertwined with Irish steps and is awesome. There is also a Russian ensemble in the second act who perform incredible dance moves, with the male dancers whirling around the female dancer. The second act also features Andrew Prashad and J. L. Williams, two American tap dancers who do snappy footwork. There is a friendly dance-off between the two and a trio of Irish dancers.

The talents of the four musicians playing traditional Irish instruments add another element to the show. Matt Bashford is pitch perfect on the uilleann pipes while Patrick Mangan gives a lively performance on his fiddle. Mark Alfred rocks with drums while Ken Edge plays a mean sax. On the large dance numbers there is additional canned music. This production is more diverse than the original and is moving with the times.

Riverdance is playing through Sunday November 8th, 2015, at the Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor Street, San Francisco. For tickets call 888-746-1799 or online at For more information on the tour including future appearance dates, please visit

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