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Midnight Tango (tour - Southend, Cliffs Pavilion)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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There’s a large team behind the dance spectacular which is Midnight Tango, as well as the great professionalism and commitment to an audience’s enjoyment shown by all the performers. We are in a slightly run-down bar cum dance-hall during the slide from the not-always-glittering1920s to the fraught 30s. Morgan Large’s set makes the ambiance clear before a single dancer has stepped out of the streets and into its warmth.

A framing device for the plot involves the bar owner and his wife; Tricia Deighton and Teddy Kempner define their relationship (which can be brittle) with precision. The round of applause when Carlos finally designs to help Rosa off with her coat says it all, and their attempt at the tango (very much in the non-professional dancer’s Strictly Ballroom mode) is hilarious.

Serious footwork is provided by the rest of the cast, led by [Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone as a young couple who have their own problems, mainly caused by other people. You would be forgiven for thinking that all these dancers have more than the usual complement of two legs, as kicks and back-flicks succeed each other with eye-watering speed and fluidity.

Much of the dancing, especially in the pas de deux and pas de quatre numbers, shows an elegance of extension which owes much to a classical ballet as well as tango-specific training; some of the lifts are spectacular in this context. The music is provided by a costumed, on-stage ensemble with vocals by Miguel Angel. It’s a unique entertainment which marries authenticity with theatrical display.


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