Vivienne Kennedy reviews The Last Tango, playing at Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 6th February
Fans of BBC TVís Strictly Come Dancing soon took Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace to their hearts when they made their show debut in series four, way back in 2006, and it has been an absolute joy for me and many others to watch them perform at Bristol Hippodrome on a regular basis since 2011. They toured with Midnight Tango that year and again in 2012, and then with Dance ĎTil Dawn in 2014 & 15. Now theyíre back and ominously the show is entitled The Last Tango.
The pair have joined forces once more with director and co-choreographer Karen Bruce to produce a stunning show jam-packed with good music and fabulous dances. There is a simple narrative, a love story prompted by memories as an elderly widower sorts through the treasures in his attic while preparing to leave the family home for the last time. Itís sweet and allows them to showcase a wide variety of dance styles in a way that flows perfectly.
Vincent and Flavia are former World Argentine Tango Show champions (2005 and 2006) but were also the UK Professional Ten Dance champions from 2002 to 2006 and UK Ballroom champions for several years too. In other words, in terms of Latin and Ballroom, there isnít much they canít do and their choreography for this show demonstrates that very well; thereís even some Flamenco thrown into the mix.
They are supported by eight dancers, a superb singer (Matthew Gent), and a live band, led by Musical Director Steve Geere. Teddy Kempner, a stalwart of all three shows, plays the old man (basically senior Vincent). As always, his comic timing is spot on but he can produce moments of poignancy when needed too. Credit must also go to Morgan Large, James Whiteside and Vicky Gill for the set, lighting and costumes respectively; they have made the show look beautiful and in Vicky’s case evoked some serious frock envy.
With around 30 pieces of music there were many, many highlights, including an up-tempo ensemble routine set in the post-war era, which included Jump, Jive Aní Wail. Of course it was Vincent and Flaviaís duets that everyone wanted to see and they didnít disappoint for a moment Ė there remains an incredible chemistry between the two dancers.
The Last Tango, which came after a final rumba and the first set of bows, was stunning; there is no other word for itÖit needs no other words. There was never any doubt that a full standing ovation would follow (even though they donít currently seem quite as common at Bristol Hippodrome as they have been in recent years).
Itís full on stuff and after dancing together for more than 20 years nobody would deny Vincent and Flavia a breakÖbut I canít help hoping that The Last Tango is followed in a couple of years by Oh OK, Just One More, because I really donít want last night to be the last time I see these two dance.
The Last Tango plays at Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 6th February. If you love dance, try your hardest to get a ticket.
For further information visit www.atgtickets.com
Photo: Manuel Harlan