Turn down the music, talk less and tap. If the syncopated magicians behind Rhythmic Circus, FEET DON'T FAIL ME NOW, allowed their tap dance to remain center stage, the show wouldn't feel lopsided.
As it is, the dancers spend as much time building the troupe's mythology with a contrived and poorly scripted narrative pursued by a cheesy detective. When they start tapping, the feet of the four tappers stamp, stomp and dig with an energy so infectious the Bass Hall audience of mostly families at July 13's show hooted and hollered.
Rhythmic Circus formed by Ricci Milan, who serves as the show's endearing, but talkative frontman, also includes Nick Bowman, Galen Higgins and Kaleena Miller each bringing a complementary energy to the group. Miller, as the only female onstage, brings a mellow, graceful brand of tapping; Higgins as the youngest is like a tapping adroit Zac Efron; Bowman's rugged good looks would make it difficult to focus on his feet if they didn't shuffle-ball-change at a dizzying speed.
This show features original songs from a blues band led by Alex Rossi, that would add a rich texture to the show if the mics on the tap floor were just a tad bit louder on some songs. But FEET DON'T FAIL ME NOW explores more rhythm than just tap, including a number with folding chairs, sand shoe clogging and Aaron "Heatbox" Heaton performs a jaw-dropping number as a vocal percussionist – any aspiring beat-boxer needs to follow Heaton.
The mythology Rhythmic Circus claims is that they are a band of misfits using their talents to create an artistic traveling troupe. And the show these "misfits" built is wildly entertaining, even if Milan's rambling could be more structured. Bass Hall smartly booked the company as part of the Family Series before they make their way first to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and then to an off-Broadway theater.