Theatre review - Tango Moderno, Manchester Opera House

Strictly stars Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace in Tango Moderno at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Strictly stars Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace in Tango Moderno at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool - Credit: Archant

Tango Moderno: a tour de force of latin dance brilliance, says Rachel Gibbons

Flavia & Vincent: Tango Moderno
Image: Hugo Glendinning

Flavia & Vincent: Tango Moderno Image: Hugo Glendinning - Credit: Archant

As Strictly fever sweeps the nation once again, we asked Rachel Gibbons, ballroom dancer and founder of dance jewellery business Ballroom Bling, to give us her thoughts on the new show developed by Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, Tango Moderno, when it visited Manchester Opera House.

Strictly speaking (geddit?), unless you are a dancer yourself, then what the average man on the street knows about Tango is probably down to what they have seen on the aforementioned Strictly Come Dancing, which has done a lot to popularise Tango, particularly Argentine Tango in the last few years.

Many people will therefore have the ‘nightclub in Buenos Aires’ perception of Tango, with traditional Accordion music, gauchos, and ladies of the night!

This show, however, has a much younger vibe, from its young cast with trendy music to its ‘West Side Story’ type feel. It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for not only Tango, but for the many other dances which feature in this show.

This is absolutely not an extended demonstration of the art of Tango. Former Strictly stars Vincent and Flavia have brought this luscious dance up to date; their objective is to show us what the broader UK dancing scene looks like, and how this dance fits in, and then how dancing fits into and enhances life. And they do so very successfully. Music fans will love the resolutely modern score – marrying Ed Sheeran with Rag’n’Bone Man by way of Bruno Mars, and even the lovely Buble makes an appearance!

The show is narrated by The Singer (Tom Parsons), who doubles as a modern day Shakespeare, taking you through why people dance, and the joy it brings. Vincent and Flavia sprinkle their magic as kind of Dancing Fairy Godparents cum Matchmakers Extraordinaire – bringing people together through the romance of dance!

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The young cast give it their absolute all, and bring bags of personality and humour to the stage – they were all fantastic, although, I have to say, I had Abs Envy by the end of it – dancers definitely have the best bodies, and there were a lot of abs on show! Vincent and Flavia truly let loose in the Argentinian style Tango - and in this breathtaking form you can absolutely see why they were World Champions in their pre-Strictly days. The final number, well – wow: it’s just outstanding – totally leaves you wanting more, on your feet, cheering. On the night I attended it was Flavia’s husband, the actor Jimmy Mistri, who was first up on his feet giving it a standing ovation, along with members of the Corrie cast who were clearly loving every minute of it. The other standout performance, for me, came from Rebecca Lisweski, who did an absolutely brilliant rendition of Three Handed Woman – if I’d had three hands, I’d have clapped them all!

A great show, highly entertaining, and if that doesn’t get you dancing, then nothing will.