With Strictly Come Dancing regarded by many as must-see Saturday night television viewing, there is a wonderful opportunity to watch two of the show’s former favourites in their latest production at Milton Keynes Theatre this week.
While Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace said ‘bon voyage’ to Strictly some three years ago, their latest show, The Last Tango, is beautifully choreographed and, in addition to the two stars, it features eight dancers who have reached a level far beyond that of most Strictly contestants.
Having danced together for almost 20 years and with several world tango titles behind them, The Last Tango is the couple’s third West End-style touring show together.
They previously brought ‘Midnight Tango’ and ‘Dance til Dawn’ to us at Milton Keynes while to described this latest offering is really difficult as it’s not really a musical or a song and dance show… it falls into its very own special and very memorable category.
Billed as their last ever theatre tour together – although I’ve heard that from other artists before! – The Last Tango is directed by Olivier Award-winning choreographer Karen Bruce while the two stars work their own brand of magic on the overall performance which also features a fabulous troupe of dancers and eight truly wonderful musicians under the direction of piano-playing Steve Geere.
The show’s storyline revolves around an older version of Vincent – he’s called George and is played by Teddy Kempner. Climbing through the loft hatch and looking through the possessions in his attic, George reminisces thoughtfully as he picks up each individual item while the cast dance to portray that particular time in their lives.
George reflects on how he first met his wife (Flavia) while the storyline goes through the special times they spent together… beach holidays, Christmases, anniversaries and the birth of their children, they are all celebrated.
Time passes from pre-war England to a happier post-war period, the power of dance taking us through the couple’s life together until she sadly passes away. Then in a dream-like sequence they dance to the haunting melody of ‘Autumn Leaves’ while performing their Last Tango!
Naturally Vincent and Flavia completely hold the audience with their spell-binding footwork while there are some wonderful and colourful group dances, the fabulous costumes naturally making it a truly amazing spectacle.
Meanwhile the orchestra are almost as sensational as the dancers and are accompanied by singer Matthew Gent who managed to croon his way through a variety of well known songs which depict the era. He also changes his styles so perfectly and compliments standards like Nat King Cole’s ‘When I Fall In Love’, ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’ and ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’ while there’s also a great upbeat version of Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’
However Gent is not the only singer in this action-packed show for Rebecca Lisewski slips away the dance ensemble to perform several solos including ‘Raise The Roof’.
The first act ends with violinist Oliver Lewis playing the haunting theme from Steven Speilberg’s academy award-winning film Schindler’s List depicting Vincent leaving Flavia to go off to war.
Morgan Large’s stage set is cleverly used, especially the attic clutter, but unsurprisingly the show ends with the two stars dancing a stunning Argentine Tango which brings a much-deserved standing ovation.
The Last Tango – which runs for just 85 minutes plus a 20 minute intermission – plays Milton Keynes Theatre until this Saturday (28 November) each evening at 7.30pm while there are matinees performances on both Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm. Tickets cost from £19.50 and to book you can call the box office on 0844 871 7652 or alternatively visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/miltonkeynes