Reviewed by Jan Mellor
Walking into the theatre, the stage was set as an effective block of suburban flats. The principle lady, Flavia Cacace, walked onto the stage to announce that the other principle, Vincent Simone, was unable to perform tonight due to a back injury. She went on to explain that two dancers Leonel Di Cocco and Pasquale La Rocca would replace him. The audience may have been disappointed but they didn’t show it. And so, the show began…
I didn’t know much about the history of the tango and read in the programme how tango was introduced to Europe from Argentina in the mid-19th Century and how in recent times the dance has become very popular due to the versatility of the dance and the immense media exposure. I was intrigued how the dance would be portrayed across the UK and with ‘Strictly’s Crème de la Crème’ playing the main roles I was expecting some real talent and passion. From the start, as Flavia danced effortlessly with Leonel and then Pasquale we were immediately drawn into the exotic world of Argentina of so long ago. The couple(s) danced remarkably to songs such as “A house is not a home”, “If I were a painting” and “The first Time ever I saw your face? (sang beautifully by Rebecca Lisweski) whilst a group of talented dancers supported them in the fast-moving ensemble. Regardless of who danced the male lead the passion and intensity did not ease. The audience were spellbound. The dance scenes and songs were cleverly introduced via limericks and songs by a narrator, the very talented Tom Parsons. The twist to the traditional dances was the modern songs played throughout such as Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of you”, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s “Human” and Bruno Mars’ “Perm”. With the exceptional talents of both Tom and Rebecca and Oliver Lewis phenomenally playing violin, the cast showed their diverse and immense skills to us all.
Song after song, the dancing was spectacular by all three principles and all the supporting cast. The show started at 7.30pm and finished at 9.15pm but it felt like 10 minutes. I was completely enthralled by the dance moves, the great singing talent, superb choreography (Karen Bruce) and the sensual and romantic costume design (Vicky Gill). Flavia Cacace deserves to be acknowledged for her sheer skill, talent and stamina but the stand-ins Leonel and Pasquale replaced Vincent with a majestic presence and talent of their own.
The show ended with Oliver Lewis’s sublime violin playing and the best dance of the evening and the audience were up on their feet shouting for more. It was a joyous performance, had fabulous music and amazing talent, a great night out and one, with Vincent or not, I would recommend for any “Strictly” or non – “Strictly” fan alike.
Great music, dancing and a joy to behold!
Tickets cost from £23.90 to £60.90 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Tango Moderno is at the Opera House in Manchester from 17-21 October 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/operahouse or call the box office on 0844 871 3018.
Opera House, 3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP | 0844 871 3018