Don’t be fooled by the name; this is not a tango show. It is, however, the ‘last’ dance between Strictly Come Dancing superstars Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, who have decided to close their theatre career with a final West End production.
As the show unravels against a bric-a-brac-laden set, a live band and an energetic dance troupe, all eyes are on Vincent and Flavia.
Something, however, is missing. The passion we so desperately need to feel, the electricity between the two dancers, the fervour of their movements all scarcely ever make it to the stage. We now know why they are waving us good-bye; they are simply tired. After a 20-year-long partnership, who can blame them?
A very last, conclusive tango encore shows ‘what could have been’ – like butterflies breaking away from their pupae, Vincent and Flavia finally burst with passion
Still, her wide smile and his elegant stance are simply not enough to bedazzle us.
The Last Tango is, nevertheless, an entertaining celebration of ballroom dance. The story follows a wartime romance, acted out by Vincent and Flavia, that is reignited, chapter after chapter, by an old man rummaging through his attic.
Each piece of memorabilia he touches brings back a memory to life in the form of a dance act. Lindy-hop, jive, salsa, foxtrot, tango and other styles turn the spectacle into a multi-hued landscape, with some funny moments and even a tear or two…
There’s even a short, solo flamenco stomp by Flavia which, although falling far away from the likes of Sara Baras, illustrates mightily the expressive powers of dance. Her fierce heel knocks and sharp body movements release all the anger of the scene, leaving us breathless.
A very last, conclusive tango encore shows ‘what could have been’ – like butterflies breaking away from their pupae, Vincent and Flavia finally burst with passion, holding the audience hostage as they tango their way through the stage, fearlessly, powerfully and majestically. Oh, well…
The Last Tango at the Phoenix Theatre until Dec 3rd 2016 http://www.phoenixtheatrelondon.co.uk/