Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus: Velocity: Rising

David Geaney and James Devine. Picture: Mike Meade
David Geaney and James Devine. Picture: Mike Meade
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: He holds the Guinness World Record for most feet taps per second (38, smashing Michael Flatley’s record of 35) but when James Devine hobbles onto the stage on crutches at the start of Velocity: Rising , it’s clear we won’t be seeing that today.

Assembly George Square Studios (17)


Such is the way of the Fringe, tragedy has struck, with James not only losing his mother in late July (the show is dedicated to her) but spraining his ankle in rehearsal at the start of this run.

And yet, this is one of the best dance hours you could spend in Edinburgh this August. Stepping into the breach is David Geaney, a World Irish Dance Champion five times over, semi-finalist on this year’s Britain’s Got Talent and the heir apparent to Flatley’s throne – and he is only 22. He and Devine formed Velocity and devised the show together, but Geaney adapted it at the last minute.

The result is a wonderful, fast-paced and utterly joyful display of Irish dancing. Geaney is a phenomenal dancer, lightning fast, bursting with energy and amiable with the crowd. Devine visits the stage twice, to tap dance sitting down, allowing the first class musicianship of the small live band to help him make the most of what he can offer until his ankle heals.

Dancer Anne Marie Keaney, drafted in at the last minute, also helps to shake things up, with a mix of hard and soft shoe dancing. Backed by guitar, percussion, sax, fiddle and DJ, the movement never misses a beat, while a video on the backscreen gives audiences a fascinating potted history of dance in Ireland.

In truth, this is a five -star show compromised down to a four – and anyone with even a passing interest in Irish dance and tap should buy themselves an hour in Velocity’s company.

Until 27 August. Today, 6:35pm.