Former world champions Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace have dazzled television audiences as the incredibly talented and likeable stars of Strictly Come Dancing for the last six years. In Midnight Tango they are “Strictly” sensational.
Midnight Tango is Vincent and Flavia’s first proper foray into theatrical performance. When they left the ballroom behind during the most recent break between seasons on the hit BBC show, Milton Keynes Theatre was one of the venues that welcomed their stunning production.
The breathtaking show – complete with first class tango routines, drama, comedy and pure unadulterated passion – is produced by acclaimed choreographer and So You Think You Can Dance judge Arlene Phillips and features ten of the finest Tango dancers in the world. An internationally renowned tango band joins the dancers for a sensational production that fuses dazzling choreography with intoxicating Tango rhythms.
As I settled into my seat in the airy auditorium, a sense of eager anticipation filled the air. What were we to expect from the dynamic duo? Intricate footwork and sizzling chemistry seemed a dead cert but would the evening be akin to the routines we see on our television screens?
The stage is prepared with a striking set depicting an impressive recreation of a Buenos Aires bar. When the business day is over the late night bars in the city of Buenos Aires come alive and the show begins as the middle-aged bar owners arrive to set up for another night. They are shortly followed by the influx of an entourage of couples who pick tables, order drinks and take to the floor to dance the night away with their partners.
The men are dressed in suits and ties with braces and trilby hats, while the women are costumed in smart separates or cocktail dresses. Temptation, passion and jealousy are in the air as the couples eye each other up and it becomes clear that this is not a Strictly spin-off but a true production – an authentic Argentine tango show.
The scene is set for the stars to arrive and Vincent and Flavia make their entrance with some spectacular choreography, showcasing their passionate chemistry. They perform daring moves with a sense of intimacy and enthral the audience from their very first steps.
A narrative runs throughout Midnight Tango, conveying two parallel love stories – one of youth and one of middle age.
The main narrative follows the story of one young couple – Sofia (Cacace) and Pablo (Simone) – as they meet, dance and fall in love. Beautiful, glamorous and hopelessly in love, the dancing sparkles the most when these two are centre stage. The secondary narrative is the love story between the two bar owners. They provide the comic turn with their neat performance littered with slapstick antics and some compellingly tender moments as the ‘old married couple’. Their sweet-natured, light-hearted side story raised a few laughs between the moments of intense passion experienced in Pablo (Simone) and Sofia’s (Cacace) central love story.
There is no dialogue in Midnight Tango but the storytelling is wonderful. When Sofia (Cacace) flirts with another man, the seeds of jealousy are planted and the men fight for her honour.
However, the crystal-clear narrative plays second fiddle to the practically continuous, high quality, dancing. And so it should, as the fabulous Flavia and vivaciously vain Vincent command the stage. The stunning choreography showcases the couple, who perform gravity-defying leans and impressively complex footwork with grace, fluidity and precision. Argentine Tango combines technical complexity and flair with expressive storytelling and the whole Company had the audience transfixed throughout.
Vincent and Flavia were born to dance together: they are truly spellbinding. These two deliver sultry steps and tantalising Tango of the highest quality. The production takes the audience on a journey of mesmerising and energetic dancing. Combined with beautiful costumes, an evocative background and sublime music – the show makes for a spectacular evening. I was truly transported to the unique night-life of Buenos Aires, where the heat and excitement of a love triangle was perfectly captured in an explosive fusion of dance, drama and music.
Midnight Tango will return to Milton Keynes Theatre in July 2012. My advice for all dance fans is to book your tickets now for this “strictly” sensational Argentine Tango triumph!