REVIEW: Tango Moderno, Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Tango Moderno, with Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone - who was absent from opening night in Blackpool with an injury
Tango Moderno, with Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone - who was absent from opening night in Blackpool with an injury

Despite the ever-radiant Flavia Cacace’s heart-felt apologies for her dance partner Vincent Simone missing the show with an on-going back injury, the audience’s disappointment at his absence was clear.

Argentinian Pasquale La Rocca and Italian Leo Di Cocco took his place in the show, and while excellent dancers, they failed to capture that certain special magic the popular ex-Strictly Come Dancing stars and former world champion couple create when dancing together.

That said, Tango Moderno - Vincent and Flavia’s fourth stage show, and their return to touring as their 2016 tour The Last Tango didn’t live up to its title - doesn’t fail to capture the imagination with a witty 2017 take on the dance of romance.

The cast fuse ballroom and Latin with lyrical, ballet and street styles of dance, telling love stories of the millenial generation through dating apps, art and missed opportunities.

Flavia play a kind of fairy godmother with La Rocca and Di Cocco, sprinkling romantic star dust over the ensemble, helping them find their way through the maze of modern dating practices.

Tango dance itself plays a minimal role in the production, but when it does make an appearance, it’s impossible to look away from Flavia and La Rocca, as their arms, legs and bodies entwine, hitting beats and syncopations with split-second precision.

Adding to the Argentinian spirit of these specialist numbers is violinist Oliver Lewis, ramping up the tension with his deft musicianship.

Bringing the contemporary nature of the show to the fore is Tom Parsons as a spoken word artist and busking commentator on the twists and turns of love, also accompanying some of the routines with chart hits from the likes of Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith.

His version of Lukas Graham’s Seven Years accompanying the male company left tears down my cheeks, while Rebecca Lisewski also delivers some stunning vocals and comic moments.

I loved the way the show played out, but for the Vincent and Flavia faithful fans in the audience, perhaps the youthful take on tango and love was n’t quite on the mark.

Until Saturday