The Last Tango is a curious theatrical form. Neither play nor musical, it is a contrived dance form which serves purely as a vehicle for the former Strictly Come Dancing stars Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace. Billed as their “final ever theatre tour”, the curtain will finally fall on The Last Tango in Southampton in July next year. Performing to an appreciative audience on Press Night at the Richmond Theatre, Cacace and Simone each received a warm round of applause before they’d even danced a single step when they first appeared on stage.
The Last Tango is directed by Olivier-Award winner Karen Bruce, who also co-choreographs with Simone and Cacace. The Strictly duo are joined by a supporting cast of eleven including the sensational solo singer Matthew Gent. The live band is enthusiastically led by Steve Geere.
The Last Tango is full of impressive, mesmerising dancing but is sadly light on narrative. The conceit is that an old man, George (played by accomplished actor Teddy Kempner) goes up to his attic and rootles through his belongings. These forgotten ornaments and mothballed uniforms trigger poignant memories which are enacted (though dance) by the Company below. Kempner felt underused. His role was often reduced to huffing and grunting as he picked up items in the attic.
There was great dramatic potential here and it is a shame it was not explored. But then, most people who buy a ticket are here purely to see the two Strictly professionals in action. The attic is built above the main stage and is ingeniously and intricately designed by Morgan Large. Large’s set is enhanced and complemented by the subtle lighting design of James Whiteside.
The story begins pre-war and Vicky Gill’s costume design successfully replicates the prim and proper pre-war and 1940s fashions. When Cacace takes to the stage at the end in a shimmering, visually arresting, figure hugging gown one wishes the story could have been set in a different time so that Cacace could have been dressed as glamorously throughout.
Flavia Cacace is one of the world’s most beautiful women. She is beguiling and captivating and her petite, athletic form moves seemingly effortlessly and lithely across the stage. She is perfectly matched by strong and swarthy Vincent Simone. They move together fluidly as if they are joined together by an invisible thread.
They are both step perfect in this exquisitely choreographed show. Cacace and Simone are world champions of the Argentine tango; watching them perform this sensational dance is a treat and a delight.
Review by Laura-Jane Foley
The Last Tango
The nation’s favourite Strictly Come Dancing stars in their ultimate farewell show. Fresh from their sell-out hit shows Midnight Tango and Dance ’Til Dawn, Strictly superstars Vincent Simone & Flavia Cacace have created their most moving production yet as they prepare to dance in their final ever show.
Twenty years of dancing together has seen them become Strictly Come Dancing favourites, World Dance title-holders, create and star in their own West End productions – but now it is finally time for the nation’s best loved Argentine Tango Champions to say goodbye to the stage in a thrilling, new, live performance.
The Last Tango