Appearing at the Edinburgh Festival Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance have come to town and swapped tights and Tchaikovsky for snug black trousers and an unashamed pop-rock soundtrack. New York-based ballet dancers they may be, but there’s not a whiff of neurotic Natalie Portman about them – in fact here the effect is definitely more Kids from Fame than Black Swan.
The seven-strong ensemble (all male except for ballerina Kamille Upshaw) throw their fine-tuned ballet skills as hard as they can at numbers from the Black Eyed Peas, Queen and a whole lot of Michael Jackson. Classical music does feature once, in the form of Bizet’s Carmen, but then the boys are dancing with blow-up dolls at the time.
There are some beautiful moments of sinuous, acrobatic choreography, but for the most part it’s pure entertainment, of the prime-time Saturday night kind. And there’s something a bit earnest in some of the rockier numbers which rubbed the edge off the fun just a touch. But it didn’t stop the crowd from baying for more twice in a row, and the Bad Boys came into their own in a brace of brawny and fabulously showy encores.