The Adventures of Tapman

Choreographers: Tristan Bruns & Zada Cheeks TapMan_Poster-Athenaeum-388x600

Produced by Tapman producrions

At the Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago

Tepid tap triumphs as Tapman trumps tap

Tristan Bruns is the artistic director and top tap man for Tapman Productions, a traveling itinerant tap dance show designed for birthday parties, outdoor festivals, and private events. Their show comes with  a rentable sprung floor that amplifies sound for percussive dancers including Irish, Flamenco and, of course, tap.

But in order to make a 55 minute show, a theme is needed, so The Adventures of Tapman was invented. This is a silly stupid comic book superhero whose tap powers triumphs over evil.  “Follow the triumph and trials of the tenacious Tapman. Chicago’s premiere tap dance superhero, featuring the tap dance martial art. ‘TAP-Fu.” (So says their poster.)

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What I witnessed was a a adequate tapper, Tristan Burns, whose makes a feeble attempt to play a quirky superhero in tights, mask, and of course, tap shoes. Performed with canned music, this show is an embarrassing blend of live cartoon and bland tap dancing. It sure will not rival Riverdance or 42nd Street. It plays like a dance recital or an extended audition as the lame story of the superhero tapping his way to glory rings hollow. When Tapman (Burns) and Modern Marvel (Kate O’Hanlon) tap a duet to Porter’s “Night & Day” they do NOT channel Astaire & Rogers. Better to just do tap numbers without a goofy storyline.

I’m not sure who the audience is for this 55 minute mini-show? A children’s birthday party? Possibly. I reviewed Tapman because I have a strong affinity for tap dancing but I was unimpressed by the dance studio caliber taping I witnessed. The skills I saw were far below the tapping I see routinely at Marriott Theatre, Paramount Theatre or Drury Lane Theatre.

Not Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: January 29, 2015

For more info checkout The Adventures of Tapman page at theatreinchicago.com

At the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, Chicago, IL,  call 773-935-6875, www.athenaeumtheatre.org, tickets $17 -$27, Fridays at 7:30 pm, trough February 8, 2015