The Last Tango at the Manchester Opera House
Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace in The Last Tango at the Manchester Opera House
Two former Strictly Come Dancing Professional dancers embarked on life after the TV hit through a variety of stage shows. Midnight Tango was the best, as it showed audiences what this duo had become famous for, Dance ‘Till Dawn was a bit muddled and this new show (allegedly their final tour) has some nice moments, but like Dawn – it is slightly uneven.
Teddy Kempner (a regular in these shows) plays George – an older man, looking back on his life. He sits in Morgan Large’s beautifully realised set – going through old boxes, re-living memories. Bring on Vincent and Flavia – to dance and breathe life to these memories. There are moments here, whereby you realise why this pair are so popular. Their moves are so effortless, that they look simple. Karen Bruce’s choreography is actually very intricate but it’s not always clear in the big venues that house this tour, as the sight lines cannot always convey this.
In a TV studio, or watching from an armchair, one of the fascinating things about watching Vincent and Flavia, is being able to pick up each leg movement and realise how flexible (particularly Cacace) the duo could be. Sadly, that's mainly lost here - if you are not near the front.
Matthew Gent is the resident singer and his renditions of the likes of Beyond the Sea and others do bring an old school feel to the show. But you never really feel that the two stars of the show fit into this era. They are more suited to the streets of Argentina and need sexier moves; something more fluid to really show audiences what they can do. Cacace is sleek and has the ability to act without words. Simone does not look as comfortable when required to emote.
Narratively speaking, because this show is so short (under two hours, including an interval) – the slim narrative is rushed, which leaves very little room for any sense of emotional content. On Strictly, dancers have two minutes to get this across, so this always feels stretched when shoe horned into an entire show.
This is a sweet and easy going production. And if you want to see these superb dancers live, then you could do a lot worse. But as a show/concept, you cannot help but feel that it would be more successful if the padding (the ensemble, the loose narrative, the endless party scenes) was ditched, in favour of pure dance. Then you could watch in awe as these two deliver the Argentine Tango with panache – reminiscent of a scene from the hit show Evita.
The Last Tango is at the Manchester Opera House until 14 Nov.
Glenn Meads for Canal St Online.