What's amazing, though, if you dig down a layer: notice that these are two completely different sets of leads in these two photos. This means that while the show itself is the same, you're seeing it slightly differently each time. Matt Smith and James Keegan have two very unique performance styles as the Lord of the Dance; Matt plays up the swagger, while James emphasizes the command presence.
The same is true for Declan Durning and Zoltan Papp; Declan is anarchistic punk rock, while Zoltan is the human personification of Holst's Mars symphony. The Dark Lord has perhaps the widest latitude for character interpretation, and watching Declan and Zoltan perform the same role on the same day is a fascinating study in contrasts; Declan's Don Dorcha is a young, hungry, street-fighting hoodlum, whereas Zoltan's Don Dorcha is almost a supernatural force of nature instead of a person.
That dichotomy is true of Katrina Costello and Erin-Kate Mcilravey as well. They arguably have the toughest character to portray; Saoirse has to embody the qualities of grace and dignity, in a way that makes the audience fall in love with them. Katrina plays up the wholesomeness of the character, while Erin-Kate goes for authority.
Meanwhile, with Fran Dunne and Andrea Papp-Kren, we have an astonishing study in contrasts as Morrighan. Fran's Morrighan is contemptuous; no matter what you do, you'll never be in her league. Andrea's Morrighan, meanwhile, is the very definition of playing with fire, and her temptress genuinely revels in *burning* people.
The interplay between these leads makes every permutation unique. These are exceptionally demanding and high-profile Irish dance roles, embodying different elements of Michael Flatley's art form atop Irish dance. In order for a dance drama to work, you have to *care* about the characters, and that means genuinely being moved by the dancers who bring them to life.
Fortunately, Lord of the Dance is blessed with the finest Irish dancers in the world.