How do they do it? One wrong step, and you’ve broken an ankle falling off one of those slinky heels, or sliced off your dance partner’s knackers. It’s the tango, that mind-bogglingly precise form of leg-swishing, lady-flingin’ moves that, done right, can take an audience’s breath away. A gorgeous display of skill and sexiness, the real talent is making it look easy.
Cue Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, world tango champions known to millions through their work on Strictly Come Dancing and romantic tabloid scandals. Their show Midnight Tango wowed the West End and even garnered favourable reviews from the broadsheets, and is now on a national tour. For lovers of dance, it is a spectacle not to be missed.
With no dialogue, the tale is told simply through song and dance. As such, it was probably the shortest show I’ve ever seen on the Empire stage, lasting less than two hours – including the interval.
But it is nicely paced, a firecracker of a show that does not outstay its welcome. Set in a ramshackle Argentinian bar, Morgan Large’s beautiful flair for detail makes sure the space looks and feels authentic. It’s a great place for the drama to play out, from innocent dance offs featuring the whole cast, to Flavia and Vincent’s romance being interrupted by a love rival. Well, they’ll have to tango for her, won’t they?
The music is wonderful, a mix of familiar, formal and gypsy style tango tunes with accordion and fiddle at the fore courtesy of Tango Siempre. Singer Miguel Angel is every inch the Latin crooner, suited and booted, and with a smile for the ladies as big as his voice.
Flavia and Vincent’s two solo dances are sublime, and worth admission alone. Although the whole cast have nifty feet, the Strictly duo outshine them all.
You might think to compare a show like this to Riverdance, which incorporated all kinds of world dance into the mix. Not so – Vincent and Flavia keep things strictly tango, and it works beautifully.