Office Beat: A Tap Dance Comedy playing now at 2016’s Hollywood Fringe: A review…
As conceived by Mindy and Gabe Copeland with original music by Andrew Van Vlear, Office Beat is a tale of office politics and labor unrest told completely without dialogue.
Well without spoken dialogue that is, but there’s plenty of snappy repartee in the marvelous toe-tapping feet of the Tap Overload Dance Company.
Set in a happy hoofing workplace where productivity is paced with a twostep, the story opens with a budding office romance between the recently passed over for promotion office manager (Mindy) and the newly hired guy (Gabe).
But when the new boss, corporate tool (Jimmy Fisher) arrives with staid assistant (Hilary Cunningham) they immediately try to enforce new work place regulations; including a total ban on tap dancing during office hours!
The new guy and the old office manager, like Samuel Gompers and Norma Rae blessed with Broadway Style moves, organize the company (Clarissa Yoshiko Chun, Racquel Dirckze, Heidi Drinkward, Erin Esparza, Gary Roberts, Valerie Rockey, Angela Todaro, the sure footed Aaron Pardini and Brooke Paulsen-Zelus nemesis of the company Xerox) to strike and they don’t walk off the job, they dance off.
It’s the Haymarket Riot if all the protesters had been trained by Fred Astaire.
It’s the “Wobblies” except in smooth-footed time step.
It’s a paradiddling, toe-punching, paddle-rolling revolt of the proletariat.
It’s the workers of the world uniting to form a dance line.
It’s the “Labor Movement” except more like a “Labor Heel Turning, Shiggy Bopping, Riffing, Hot Stepping Movement.”
It’s collective bargaining with the Nicholas Brothers, Donald O’Connor, Gregory Hines, Sarah Reich, Tommy Tune, Gene Kelly and Bill Robinson sitting at the table.
Founded in 2001 Tap Overlord has been producing videos for YouTube and performing throughout southern California, in order to introduce tap dancing to new audiences.
In this production their individual skills are stunningly apparent, and their collective love for and joy in this uniquely American art form is even more so.
Office Beat treats one to a cross section of styles that serve, almost, as a history of tap’s development and in the process recalls the grandeur and scope of one of those magnificent fantasy segments from the golden era of MGM musicals.
This is not only a show you shouldn’t miss, this is a show you shouldn’t let your kids, neighbors or, even, your nasty old Uncle Harry you haven’t spoken to in twenty years miss!
And the year after that, and the year after that, and the – oh, you get the idea.
This one is pure: GOLD.