On Tuesday I went to the opening of Midnight Tango, which after an extensive UK tour, and before a second leg, is hitting the West end courtesy of Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace of Strictly Come Dancing fame.
Midnight Tango, is produced by Arlene Phillips and Adam Spiegel, and directed by Karen Bruce, so you know this is going to be an evening of choreographic delight, intense rhythms and breathtaking partnerships – you won’t be disappointed.
From the shadowy setting of a hot, smoky bar (exquisitely designed set by Morgan Large) we are introduced to an array of sizzling dancers, who form the company, including a beautifully told side story of a sweet older couple, who run the bar, providing many a comic moment throughout this dance fest. Tango Siempre and Miguel Angel provide an authentic score to accompany the dancers and dazzle the audience.
The very loose story is one of rivalry. Everyone in the bar is enjoying their evening and the company, the romance between Vincent and Flavia is flourishing, then in walks a sultry, dark figure vying for Flavia’s affection. All the cast are named characters, but never actually addressed by said names. The evening is played out with fierce Latin battles and group dances, each pairing getting their five minutes to shine. Couples move incredibly quickly and accurately with brave footwork causing audible intake of breath from the audience on many occasions.
There are too many wonderful individual moments to point out, however if I had to choose, the finest point of the evening was the simply beautiful slow dance between Vincent and Flavia in act two. This movement brings a tear to your eye with its pure elegance and grace; you can see the respect and care oozing from the pairing all the way through the show. A special mention must also go to James Whiteside, for the most gorgeous and affective lighting design I have seen in the West End in a long time.
At 2 hours including Interval, this show simply zips by. Yes, at times it ventures towards being repetitive, but saying that, I would have happily watched it again straight away. If you go to Midnight Tango, and I wholly suggest you do, you will watch a mesmerising evening of dance and come away with a massive smile on your face. There is a reason this show has sold out across the country, and as it is going on another extensive UK tour straight after its west end run, I would catch it now before you regret it.
A sure fire hit.
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By Christopher Owen @cobartlett
20th January - 31st March 2012
Aldwych Theatre, London, WC2B.