You know Batman and Spiderman and Ironman and Thor. Superman, Wonderwoman, the Hulk and Captain America. But do you recall, the most famous tap dancing superhero of all?
Fighting crime, landing a date and pulling off some seriously impressive dance moves are all in a day’s work for Tapman (Tristan Bruns). The Adventures of Tapman follows the title hero as he battles his arch nemesis, the Invisible Tapman, and woos his fellow superhero The Modern Marvel, played by the peppy Kate O’Hanlon.
Tapman is part dance show, part musical, part comedy sketch and part multimedia mashup. If it sounds like a bit of a hodgepodge that’s the truth of it. There are lot of elements involved that are good though somewhat disjointed. The narrative starts off strong with an introduction to our hero followed by a harrowing tap battle between Tapman and his evil invisible twin. Soon after, we meet the Modern Marvel in one of the strongest dance numbers of the piece. As Tapman courts Modern Marvel he teaches her a few basics of tap. This mini lesson is a great way to educate the youngest audience members as well as the older ones, who may not be familiar with tap technique.
The Adventures of Tapman
by Tristan Bruns
at Lab II – Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Details and tickets
After this, the story gets a little muddled. I felt my attention and that of the youngest audience members drifting during the long moments of transition and video sequences that seemed to be inserted at odd times. At one point we are introduced to Tapman’s sidekick turned bad guy, the Mad Tapper. The short film was campy and fun but it would have made for bigger laughs if the audio hadn’t drowned out the background music.
Aside from this, the technical elements were delightful. The music, designed by Bruns, was a mix of jazzy selections from the swing era as well as two original songs that allowed Bruns to showcase his strong vocals. The lights (also by Bruns) were appropriately colorful and cartoonish.
The Adventures of Tapman is billed as family friendly entertainment and it certainly meets those expectations. Despite the need for clarification of the plot sequence this is some fantastic superhero fun that’s great for all ages.