Sultry, sexy and spectacular

Midnight magic: Vincent Simone as Pablo and Flavia Cacace as Sofia. Pictures: Manuel Harlan

Midnight Tango

New Alexandra Theatre

*****

MIDNIGHT Tango, like the dance itself, is performed with few words but with total focus on music, movement and physical expression.

The show is a heady and intense combination choreographed by former world champions Vincent Simone (Pablo) and Flavia Cacace (Sofia) who showcase the social origins of the tango through the story of a struggle between two men for one woman.

Morgan Large created the spectacular set - a bar in Buenos Aires in the early years of the twentieth century - where the musicians (Tango Siempre) and dancers gather. Such bars were important meeting places at a time when the male population of the city completely outnumbered available women.  

Since the dance of the women of Buenos Aires was the tango, men had to learn how to dance well while the women could afford to be choosy and selective about their partners.  

Well-known for their appearances on Saturday evening TV's Strictly Come Dancing, Vincent and Flavia are joined on stage by some of the finest tango dancers in the world.  

Flavia gives new meaning to chairwoman

Moody lighting, sultry and sexy costumes all add to the atmosphere. The audience was mesmerized and enchanted by the spectacle, passion and intensity displayed during the show, which, incidentally, is produced by Arlene Phillips and Adam Spiegel.

At less than two hours long, the show may be relatively short but is characterized by the  very wide range of emotion that is being expressed – the love triangle of Sofia, Pablo and Ricardo  (Leonel Di Cocco) and the men's feud takes the audience through passion, love, jealousy and fun.

The vibrant colour of women's costumes and their tiny brisk steps contrast strongly with the suits, hats and sweeping moves that underpin the masculinity of the men. This ensemble of talent can really dance!

Flavia's sensuality and quicksilver twists and kicks are shown off to best effect through Vincent's relaxed and apparently effortless style.

A comical sub-plot plays out during the show; Rosa (Tricia Deighton) and Carlos (Anthony Renshaw) are the couple who own the restaurant and spend the first half of the show battling and upsetting each other. Their tango may be more reminiscent of learners, but clearly they enjoy the dance as much as their more skilled customers.

Without the music of the violin and the Bandoneon, tango would not have become tango so the band (Tango Siempre) and singer (Miguel Angel) are on stage throughout the show; drummer Andrew Tween even takes to the bar and ‘plays' the bottles thus adding to the sense of fun.

The audience was clearly delighted by superb dancing throughout this celebration of the attack, tension, extraordinary angles, impressive footwork and sheer joy of tango. Prepare to be Wowed! Enjoy! To 11-05-13.

Laura Ginesi 

And on the other foot . . .

* * * * 

MANY Strictly Come Dancing fans are helping boost large audiences for this show which features the Argentinian tango at its exciting best.

It's a chance to see TV stars Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace in the flesh, and they don't disappoint in a programme simply oozing with their inventive choreography.

Set in a late night bar in downtown Buenos Aires, five couples join Vincent and Flavia to demonstrate just why the tango must be rated the sexiest dance on the planet.

The footwork, elegance and passion, delivered to intoxicating music more than made up for the fact that there is no great story . . . other than the hint of rivalry and jealousy.

At the beginning of the 20th century, when Argentina needed immigrants, only two or three of every 100 recruited to work in the country were women. So the best chance men had of attracting a girl was learning to tango - better than a rival.

That's why Vincent gets involved in a brief punch-up with a competitor for Flavia, but there's only going to be one winner.

Humour in the show comes from the rather frumpy couple running the bar, but you just know they will be putting on their glad rags and proving they can tango, too. And Miguel Angel joins in with a few impressive songs.

To 11.05.13

Paul Marston 

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