Sunday, August 07, 2011

Review: "Midnight Tango" - King's Theatre, Glasgow 30th July 2011

It was a sizzling Saturday afternoon in Glasgow. Outside, the temperature continued to rise (yes, believe it or not, we’d had a couple of weeks of very warm weather!) And inside the King’s Theatre we could have done with some air conditioning as the heat became a bit unbearable at times. Then, before the show even started, we were all evacuated after a fire alert! Happily, all was well and we were allowed back into the theatre, with the show’s start time only delayed by 10 minutes.

And it was about to get hotter when Midnight Tango took to the stage!

A few years ago you couldn’t have imagined a tango show selling out theatres all over the country. But now, when you have the pulling power of Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, the Argentine Tango champions who have wowed us over the years on Strictly Come Dancing, then we shouldn’t be surprised. It was clear that most of the (mainly middle-aged) audience were here to see Vincent and Flavia, but were appreciative of all the performers involved and there was a standing ovation at the end.

Midnight Tango is set in a bar in downtown Buenos Aires, where the natives come to drink and live the passion of the tango, to the sounds of the tango band. In this case, Tango Siempre and singer Gullermo Rozenthuler, a very talented collective. I loved the way they were part of the show, rather than being hidden away beneath the stage. Their presence on stage added to the authenticity of the show. The musical soundtrack is indeed very authentic, with some classic old tango favourites mixed with new material.

The supporting dancers are all Argentine tango specialists, even if they don’t quite have the same speed or sparkle as the two stars. But they certainly create a very busy environment on stage and you even miss some of the dancing as there is so much going on!

There is also a sub-plot involving the bar owners, played by Teddy Kempner and Tricia Deighton. At the beginning, the romance has clearly gone out of their relationship - but it is re-ignited through the power of tango and they get their chance to shine with their own tango number. They were very popular with the audience too, as they provided some comedy moments away from the drama of the tango.

The main plot is basically boy meets girl, they fall in love, along comes the bad guy and then there’s a TANGO FIGHT!! Anyway boy tries to win back girl from the bad guy and you can guess the rest.

It’s Vincent and Flavia’s show of course - they get the best costumes for example - and when they dance together they convey all the passion of the Argentine tango whilst also connecting with the audience. And no offence Vincent, but the absolute star of the show is Flavia. She is an amazing dancer with terrific technical ability, and she looks amazing too. And I won’t spoil it for those who have still to see Midnight Tango, but she also reveals another very surprising talent later in the show!

Midnight Tango is a high-quality product with incredible dancing from beginning to end - which you’d expect when one of the producers is none other than Arlene Phillips - and with a few tweaks and some development, it could potentially develop into a theatrical phenomenon which could do for Argentine tango what Riverdance did for Irish dancing. However it wouldn’t work in massive arenas as the intimacy of the show requires a smaller stage, and the King’s Theatre was a perfect venue. Even if it was too hot!
Midnight Tango has been on a nationwide tour which ended with the Glasgow evening performance on 30th July. The next stop will be London’s West End where the show will be based from January to March 2012, before embarking on yet another nationwide tour. And the good news is that there’s going to be a DVD of the show released on 14th November so that’s one for the Christmas list this year!

(the above picture is courtesy of

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