In Midnight Tango, Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace make traditional big entrances.
First Cacace and then Simone come through the double doors of a Buenos Aires bar, pausing at the top of the stairs in the spotlight. It’s an old-fashioned star moment, with Cacace and Simone providing old-fashioned star presence and poise.
Midnight Tango is the first stage show created by Simone and Cacace, best known as professional dancers on “Strictly Come Dancing”. Directed by Karen Bruce, and produced by Arlene Phillips and Adam Spiegel, it’s set up as an evening in a late night tango bar. The staff set up and regulars arrive to drink, flirt, fight and dance.
The stars are supported by a team of tango dancers, who dance group numbers with a few spotlit moments. Everybody gets to dance some spectacular steps: at one point, the whole company whirl through the same acrobatic lift, women swung around and around by their partners.
It’s a good-humoured format that builds up atmosphere and shows off its stars. Cacace and Simone push through the crowds, join group dances then slide to the foreground. They’re tireless performers, dancing for most of the running time: nobody’s short-changed by this show.
Their dancing is sleek, with fluid lines and speedy footwork. Cacace is both lyrical and strong, with gorgeously open movement through her arms and torso. Simone partners her with sinuous authority.
The evening’s dramas are cheerfully sentimental. The bar is run by an older couple, Tricia Deighton and Teddy Kempner, who quarrel in the first half before kissing and making up in the second. Their storyline is predictable but done with warmth, and helps to build an onstage community. The band, the excellent Tango Siempre, play on stage, with taut rhythm and instrumentation.
Giraldo Diomar provides the other plotline, playing a tango lounge lizard who drags Cacace away from the gentlemanly Simone. The three prowl around each other in a tango trio. The storytelling is always clear – Cacace looking back over her shoulder in doubt, before the dance pulls her on again.
The reconciliation dance is full of sweeping acrobatics, Cacace flinging herself into Simone’s arms with hair-raising lifts and throws. The huge gestures could be overwrought, but their control is superb.
I preferred their showstopping final number, with its incredibly fast footwork, swivelling hips and intricate kicks and flicks. Simone and Cacace dance it with exuberant delight.
Until , then touring. 0844 248 5140. www.midnighttango.co.uk