The power of Strictly Come Dancing is undeniable. It reached through the Saturday night listings and inspired a nation; inspired us to give ballroom another shot, to give Bruce Forsyth a knighthood and Alesha Dixon a job on Britain’s Got Talent. Now its blend of sequins and dance moves has inspired the West End to give two of its stars their very own show.
Not that Midnight Tango is two hours of dickie bows and ‘Severrrrns!’ – Strictly haters fear not – instead it’s a Latin American love triangle played out through the tango choreography of Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace. Simone is the honourable gentlemen – as much as a tango dancer can ever be – fawning over the beautiful Cacace as they share a dance and a drink in their favourite romantically run down bar. Enter El Gato (Giraldo Diomar) who with his sultry, predatory dance moves half seduces, half ensnares all the women in the bar, including our lovely heroine. From then on things descend into tango spars and passionate dances as their tangled relationships work themselves through.
It may not be a story with many surprises but what keeps you hooked is the evocative, emotive dancing. The ensemble nicely underscore the shifting relationships of the central trio and when Cacace and Simone’s relationship comes to a head the speed, precision and passion of their dance is quite phenomenal.
Weaving amongst the dancers are the aging bar owners (Teddy Kempner and Tricia Deighton) as they serve drinks, calm fights and provide both comic relief and a sweet subplot. Their comedy bickering really hits the mark in the second act and they manage to just stay on the right side of saccharine as their stagnant relationship blossoms through the power of tango.
Designers Morgan Large and James Whiteside give the show a smoky, dusty feel. Whilst the on stage band provide a soundtrack that’s both fiery and sensitive; Ros Stephen’s violin is particularly noteworthy.
Midnight Tango may not be a show for lovers of dialogue, but it’s certainly a fiery, passionate dance story that’ll get you in the mood for a bit of sultry toe tapping.