Tristan Bruns can tap dance like nobody’s business, which I imagine is why he founded Tapman Productions, LLC. It is also clearly why he is the star of “The Adventures of Tapman,” a one-hour playlet about a superhero that defeats his foes through fancy footwork.
There is a lot to like about “The Adventures of Tapman.” More than anything it is a fun time. Bruns is often on stage alone performing well-timed choreography that mimics fighting. The clicks, clacks and stomps hit at just the right moments to add sound effects to what otherwise would be elaborate shadowboxing.
At other times Bruns is joined on stage by other dancers. Kate O’Hanlon, as Modern Marvel, is a modern dancer who does more than hold her own, with taps on her feet too. The kids from M.A.D.D. Rhythms Junior Squad are featured as sidekicks to the show’s villain, the MADD Tapper (Kelsey Schlabaugh). While clearly student tappers, the kids are better than many I’ve seen over the years. The MADD Tapper confrontations, sadly, are the only times that the dancing is distracting, largely because the precision present elsewhere seems to be lacking.
What I found most refreshing about this production is that it is serious dancing that doesn’t take itself too seriously. In truth, the script to this play is barely there, the acting is a bit campy and the production quality is low-budget. And yet it is an hour very well spent. Sure, the storyline is just there to provide a flimsy thread that connects a number of dance sequences, but the dances reward the viewer for putting up with the bad puns and superhero jokes. And there’s a sand dance that is worth the price of admission all by itself. (Christopher Kidder-Mostrom)
Tapman Productions at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 North Southport, (773)935-6875, tapmanproductions.com. $17-$27. Through February 8.