Flatley’s Tiger May Premier In Court

The promoters of the canceled Prague premier of Michael Flatley’s new “Celtic Tiger” show are taking the Irish dance legend to court because they claim the performance was pulled “without any well-founded reason.”

The July 12th date at the city’s 25,000-capacity Strahov Stadium, one of two European premiers for Flatley’s new dance offering, was scrapped less than an hour before the doors were due to open. The crew claimed the trusses above the stage weren’t of sufficient strength to support the P.A., lights and screens that needed to be hung from them.

One crew member said hanging nearly 30 tons on the structure would have been extremely dangerous, particularly for Flatley and the 45 dancers performing underneath it. An eyewitness reported the structure shifted 18 inches and creaked as the riggers tried to hoist the huge backdrop screen.

A press statement from Jiri Daron, made on behalf of joint promoters Pragokoncert Bohemia and JVJ Produkce, claims that they’d fulfilled all the conditions and requirements they’d received from Flatley’s Unicorn Entertainments.

“A framing company, which provided the roof, declared that its construction was executed according to the artist’s specifications, it met all the valid CSN standards, and static calculations had been kept during its construction. In addition, the artist received the blueprint of the construction in advance and had no complaints about it,” Daron’s press statement explains.

However, in an earlier statement reproduced in the national Tiscali Zabava, Daron had said, “The preparation of the show was technically very difficult. It had taken several months, including three days on the site.

“Unfortunately it was affected by unfavourable weather conditions, continual rain and downpour. Therefore, the technical rehearsal had to be postponed to the last day.

“Although everything had been checked and approved by both sides in advance, a fault on the technical equipment – on the part essential for the whole show – arose during the preparation, which we have tried to solve until the last possible moment but, at 6 p.m., had to cancel the performance.”

The second statement threatening the legal action goes on to say, “Since we consider the artist’s behaviour a wrongful conduct, we asked him to refund the rendered ticket sales revenue within five days. However, the artist has been avoiding any communication – except for canceling the rescheduled performance – and has still not refunded the revenue.

“Canceling the show and refusing to refund revenue caused the organising agencies Pragokoncert Bohemia and JVJ Produkce damage of an outstanding extent.

“For the above mentioned reasons we have contacted lawyers, who are currently filing a complaint and charges for compensation and damages.”

Martin Flitton, Flatley’s manager, is telling a different story. He said the original date was pulled because the equipment wasn’t up to scratch, the rescheduled date (August 27th) was put on sale before he’d had chance to even consider it, and there were outstanding financial issues from the first show.

“Apart from that, we asked them to use a different production company from the one they had July 12th and they refused. They said that after what happened first time, their company would be prepared to do it for nothing. Surely, it’s obvious why we’re not going back,” he added.

— John Gammon