One year ago, this excellent dance show arrived on tour and many people had low expectations. It stars two professional dancers from the hit TV show Strictly Come Dancing so you could sense that dance snobs expected a cheap cash-in. How wrong they were, eh?
Fast forward 12 months later and Midnight Tango is regarded a piece of theatre on its own and has been hugely successful - transferring to the West End and selling out venues all over the UK and you can see why. The stars of the show; Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace are unafraid as dancers, and push themselves to their limits and they are also humble enough to share the spotlight with a huge ensemble cast, a terrific band and Morgan Large's dazzling set design.
There is a loose narrative which incorporates bags of humour - much of which comes from the delightful pairing of Tricia Deighton and Teddy Kempner as older couple Rosa and Carlos. The other dancers are frightfully good - amongst them Yaisuri Salamanca stands out, as she really lights up the stage when she moves. But they are all excellent.
In the TV show Vincent & Flavia always shine whenever they perform the Tango, so it's apt that they are such a hit in this wonderful stage production. But what rarely comes across in short TV bursts, is the variety of emotions they can bring to a dance. Here, they take the audience on a journey - ecompassing - romance, passion, violence, betrayal and reconcilliation. Not all of these are successful - the fight scenes for example - are too light and the guys come across more like lovers than fighters. But for sheer passion and heat, Midnight Tango excels.
Sure, the old couple may start to grate after a while - as the scenes start to become overdone and almost panto, but this show stands aside from the dance talent shows as the choreography is so varied and exhilarating - that you start to see characters, as opposed to stars. As for the leading couple; they are simply sublime.
At times, the view from the stalls is not always as clear as it could be - but what you do see is quite magical and even though the concept it limited, Midnight Tango has so much hot stuff and chutzpah, that you cannot fail to enjoy it and it's appeal goes way beyond Strictly.