Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace are the undisputed King and Queen of the Argentine tango. In Dance 'til Dawn, they add a stunning range of other dance styles, an energetic and accomplished ensemble, fabulous singers and a well-judged dash of humour to produce a show that thrills and entertains from the opening number to the final curtain.
The storyline isn't exactly original. 1920s Hollywood Gumshoe Tommy (played with charm and great comic timing by Teddy Kempner) narrates, occasionally breaking through the fourth wall, a trope that gives a knowing wink to the audience. "We know we're in a play; just sit back and enjoy it," is the message as Tommy is commissioned by dim but well-armed nightclub singer, Lana, to recover some inflagrante photos. And enjoy it the audience most certainly does.
From that starting point, there's murder, a miscarriage of justice, and the over-arching love story of Sadie (Cacace) and Tony (Simone). The initial feeling that the story might be a lame framework on which to hang the dance numbers is quickly dispelled as the narrative thread draws together all the other elements. But the dancing is key. There's everything from jazz to soaring balletic routines to the Charleston to the final, incredible Argentine tango by the two masters of this art.
Abbie Osmon's Lana has a great stage presence, with a terrific set of pipes as she vamps and manipulates. The boys and girls of the ensemble can't be praised highly enough for their energy and spot-on dance moves. Particular kudos also to Oliver Darley as The Voice, who sings sublimely through a range of songs. His duet of "Mi Mancherai" with Giovanni Spano which accompanies Simone and Cacace's flowing balletic piece is magical and provides a quiet, contemplative moment in a otherwise high-octane show. It's all backed up by the excellent eight-piece band, led by Mark Crossland.
Karen Bruce's direction and the choreography by Bruce, Cacace and Simone are intelligent and step-perfect. Morgan Large's set design is cleverly minimalistic and flexible, with a huge staircase that allows for one of the most jaw-dropping stunts of the show. All round it's a sexy, sensual, thrilling, humorous wonder of a production. Tango down to the box office before it's too late.