Pony Dance’s assessment of their latest offering, Ponies Don’t Like Football, described as a show that;
…will be good, if not great, involving lots of bare flesh, sweat, original music, unoriginal music, the odd flash or two of pure genius…and oh yeah, lots and lots of dancing,
is a pretty accurate one. Ponies Don’t Like Football is indeed good, at times great, if not always. It does indeed have flashes of pure genius, as well as flashes of the other kind.
Following the format of previous Pony Dance productions such as the excellent Straight To DVD, and the wildly infectious How To Be A Lad(y), by spin off troupe, Pony Bois, Ponies Don’t Like Football offers a series of random and hilarious dance routines delivered with unabashed exuberance. Accompanied on stage by live band, Uncle Social and guests, Pony Dancers, Leonie McDonagh, Deirdre Griffin, Roisin Laffan and Neil Hainsworth deliver raunch and revelry, an avalanche of cuddly toys and some wild football celebrations. Accompanied by possibly the worlds greatest, and most perpetually grateful, trumpet player, Michael Barkley, and a world weary stage manager, Sara Cwojdzinski, who drags exhausted dancers off stage just so she can have her chance to sing, Ponies Don’t Like Football straps the audience in for a wild, irreverent roller coaster ride. MC of the Pony Panto, Leonie McDonagh, a mistress of the art of working the audience, struts her stuff, making sure to bring everyone along for the ride.
While there are some hugely successful moments in Ponies Don’t Like Football, other moments fall victim to those successes. The sheer inventiveness of a ballad delivered by Uncle Social's lead singer, Donal Scullion, ably “supported” by three female dancers, showed traces of pure genius. Routines like the brilliant snowboarding scene, the slow dance segment and a clever interpretation of Kenny Roger’s, Ruby were also excellent. But others, like the tennis match which appeared to borrow directly from Michael Winslow’s, Tennis Game routine, seemed less inventive by comparison.
With transitions between numbers being overly long on occasion, balance and pace suffered a little as a result, which a clever thesis on Miles Davis couldn’t fully compensate for. Coming full circle to end, as it began, on a twerking routine was again clever, but this placed emphasis on the band rather than the dancers and the big dance finish wasn't quite delivered. Indeed, throughout, moments of perfect accord between musicians and dancers contrasted with others where it wasn't entirely clear who was supporting whom. But in the end fun was the intent on the night and cracking, good fun was had by all.
Ponies Don’t Like Football is a hilarious song and dance show with physically demanding routines expertly executed, even if they don’t always look it. But that’s all part of the Pony Dance charm. It may not hit the highs all the time, but Ponies Don’t Like Football is great fun, a great night out and a timely reminder that when it comes to comedy dance theatre, Pony Dance throw the best dance party in town.
Ponies Don’t Like Football runs at The Project Arts Centre as part of The Dublin Dance Festival until Saturday, May 31st
For information on times, tickets, etc., please follow this link: