Tag Archives: Teddy Kempner

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.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.05.53

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.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.05.31

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.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.05.42

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.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.06.06

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: High Society – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Highsocietywebnew

Wealthy socialite Tracy Lord is in the midst of planning her lavish summer wedding to dull but reliable George Kittredge, when ex-husband, C. Dexter-Haven turns up to disrupt the proceedings in an attempt to win her back.

Meanwhile the notorious Spy magazine, in possession of embarrassing information about Tracy’s father, sends reporter Mike Connor and photographer Liz Imbrie to cover the nuptials. Tracy begins an elaborate charade as a means of revenge on the pair, pretending that her Uncle Willy is her father Seth Lord and vice-versa. To complicate matters Connor falls in love with Tracy. Amid the farce she must choose between three very different men. As the day of the wedding draws nearer we’re left guessing which groom the bride will eventually choose.

There are few musicals that are as beloved as High Society, starting life in 1939 with Philip Barry’s play The Philadelphia Story, then coupled with the classic songs of Cole Porter for the 1956 MGM musical, even the hardest of hearts can’t fail to enjoy this tale of true love.

hs2

This production oozes class from start to finish, reminiscent not only of a time and way of life gone by, but also a style of musical from another era. That said, with both Singin’ in the Rain and Top Hat riding high in the West End, the public’s appetite for golden era shows is at a peak, and indeed the packed house at this performance is testament to that.

hs4

The cast, principals and ensemble alike, carry the show with refinement and skill. Michael Praed ( C. Dexter Haven) and Sophie Bould (Tracy Lord) both turn in highly polished, delicately refined performances: deftly handling the glorious songs of Cole Porter as well as the moments of drama and comedy.

images (1)

In support Teddy Kempner as roguish Uncle Willie raises the biggest laughs and little sister Dinah (Katie Lee) is the 12 year-old voice of reason in the piece.

hs1

As reporters Mike Connor and Liz Imbrie, Daniel Boys and Alex Young provide a healthy disregard for the ways of these high society folk, the highlight of Boys’ performance being his delivery of the classic You’re Sensational. However, Young’s tendency to resort to comic voices in almost every line she delivers only serves to garble much of what she says and grates as the show goes on.

danny

Special mention must go to the ensemble who are particularly slick here: executing the intricate and period-perfect choreography of award-winning Andrew Wright flawlessly. The set design by Francis Connor and the beautiful lighting by the talented Chris Davey are also particularly effective.

hs3

This is pure escapism, go along and allow this show to take you on a beautifully performed, picture perfect journey to a world of glamour and style.

High Society comes to Glasgow from 30th April to 4th May – tickets and information here 

All production photographs copyright Pamela Raith 2013 – http://pamelaraith.com/