REVIEW: The Last Tango – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The Last Tango, the theatrical swan song from much-loved dancing duo Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace is more tear-jerking goodbye than a celebratory farewell.

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A musty attic stores a lifetime’s worth of treasured memories. As the dust is blown off, we travel back in time to relive the story of a couple, unnamed, but very much in love.

Beginning in the 30s, the journey takes us through most of the 20th Century, and we are treated along the way to a raft of classic tunes and the gloriously choreographed dances that accompany them. From standards such as Beyond the SeaBoogie Woogie Bugle Boy, a show-stopping At Last (sung beautifully by Matthew Gent) to Moondance and Save The Last Dance for Me, there’s enough variety musically and choreographically to highlight the considerable skills of the dancing duo and keep the interest levels high throughout.

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However, despite all the quality on show, there’s a niggling feeling that there’s something missing. Cacace and Simone are undoubtedly two of the world’s finest dancers and when they are onstage the auditorium comes alive. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the ensemble, apparently a man down, they looked less than sharp at times and the imbalance showed unfavourably on stage. The set also lacks the visual interest and innovation of the duo’s previous shows and despite the large stage at the Theatre Royal, it looks cramped.

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The narrative too has moments that lack clarity but the sheer quality of Cacace and Simone’s footwork renders the storyline secondary to the dancing.

One might have wished for a more celebratory tone to wish this beloved pair all the best for their future endeavours, what we get is the most tear-jerking of endings with audience members throughout the auditorium genuinely sobbing.

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Five stars for Cacace and Simone but for the narrative and the show as a whole, three and a half stars.

Runs until Saturday 5 December 2015 | Images: Manuel Harlan

Review originally written for and published by: www.thereviewshub.com

REVIEW: Puttin’ On The Ritz – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Taking as its inspiration the early 20th century American songbook, and capitalising on the nation’s obsession with nostalgia, Puttin’ on the Ritz is billed as “a song and dance extravaganza” featuring almost 50 pieces of music from the Golden Age of Hollywood. With songs from the greatest of the greats: George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter, the audience can’t claim they’ve been short changed on content.

Presented as a cabaret style review, the team of six vocalists and ten dancers deliver a whirlwind trip back in time accompanied by special guests, and Strictly Come Dancing favourites, Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor.

The production has toured previously but seems now considerably tighter than before: the core vocalists instead of having a guest singer, this time have guest dancers, and the production is all the better for it, if your regular vocalists are of a high quality why have more?

The sextet of singers are hugely experienced stage performers and do justice to these classic tunes. Ricky Rojas in particular striking a chord with the audience as the only cast member to go marginally off-script and break the fourth wall to encourage a sing-along in his numbers ‘Let There be Love’ and ‘Birth of the Blues’. Fans of Boardwalk Empire will also appreciate Adam Ellis’ almost Eddie Cantor like turn in his featured performances.

The choreography is also sharper this time around, particularly in ‘Anything Goes’, ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing (if it Ain’t Got That Swing) and in the Cotton Club sequence, and as ever the onstage action is complemented by multiple, glamorous costume changes throughout. The dance interludes by Rihanoff and Windsor also deserve praise,  providing as they do a change of dynamic that punctuates the evening nicely.

Very much playing to its more mature target audience, it covers much the same ground that recent productions such as The Songbook of Judy Garland and musicals Top Hat and Anything Goes do, but it can be easily forgiven as who wouldn’t want the glorious music of Gershwin, Porter and Berlin ringing in their ears.

An undemanding but highly entertaining celebration of this magical music.

Runs until Sat 13th June 2015 then touring

This review was originally written for and published by http://www.thepublicreviews.com at http://www.thepublicreviews.com/puttin-on-the-ritz-kings-theatre-glasgow/