Sunday, November 27, 2022

Review: The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is a summer hodge podge of delights

Following a two-year absence, the annual variety show with military overtones is back with a delightful made-in Nova Scotia summer hodge podge of entertainment that ranges from the death-defying to the simply sublime. 

It isn’t easy to point to a single moment in recent weeks that marks the return to some sense of normal after the last couple of years. However, the arrival of The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in 2022 comes close.

Following a two-year absence, the annual variety show with military overtones is back with a delightful made-in Nova Scotia summer hodge podge of entertainment that ranges from the death-defying to the simply sublime.

One of the trademarks of this two-and-a-half-hour show is the sheer variety and magnitude of the acts presented. From the impressive massed pipes & drums to the high-flying acrobatic comedy of The Flying Grandpas or the dazzling precision of The Jordanian Armed Forces Band and the athleticism of the German Bicycle Team, there is something for everyone.

Other highlights include Quebec City-based High Flyer RB3 with two stunning routines on the Russian bar and aerial artist Anastasia, who had the audience on the edge of its seats.

In a special tribute to the Black men of Nova Scotia’s No. 2 Construction Battalion, who supported military campaigns in the First World War, Halifax-based singer-songwriter Zamani led the proceedings with a gorgeous rendition of Amazing Grace. It was a particularly moving moment in advance of the National Apology that will take place in Truro on July 9.

Under Tom Peet’s direction, the show’s technical aspects are near flawless as the massive cast enters and exits the Scotiabank Centre, keeping the show in perpetual motion. Special mention must go to sound engineer Alan Strickland and sound technician Brian Farr for creating impeccable sound inside the cavernous arena.

It feels like The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo has returned at just the right time. Bursting with a nationalistic pride transcending borders, it is a welcome celebration as we begin to put the pandemic behind us. But, it also reminds us of our military’s historical and recent sacrifices. It is particularly poignant as crews of HMCS Kingston and HMCS Summerside set sail from Halifax yesterday to join Operation Reassurance in the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic.

The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo continues at the Scotiabank Centre (1800 Argyle St, Halifax) until July 2. Visit nstattoo.ca for tickets and information.

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