The story of tango goes back to South America in the 1880s, along the River Plate which divides Argentina and Uruguay. This exciting dance music has since spread all over the world and the 2017 version arrived in Edinburgh on Thursday evening.
Tango Moderno, as its name implies, is tango for the 21st century. The show, at the Edinburgh Playhouse, was billed as starring Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, one of the country’s most successful ballroom, Latin American and tango dance partnerships. They were the stars of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing programme in 2012. Sadly, there was disappointment for the Edinburgh audience as injury meant Simone could not take part, his place taken by Leonel Di Cocco and Pascale La Rocca. Flavia Cacace was there, though and performed brilliantly throughout.
Tango Moderno succeeds in bringing tango to a new, present day audience. The number Bla Bla Bla Cha Cha Cha is a reflection on people’s addiction to mobile phones, selfies and the internet with a dig at internet dating thrown in. This appealed to this old timer who often harks back to more simpler times.
The mix of dance and music was excellent with classics and modern numbers mixed throughout meaning there was something for all ages. From The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (still one of my all-time favourite songs) and When A Man Loves A Woman to Ed Sheeran’s The Shape of You and Bruno Mars’ The Lazy Song, the pace was relentless.
Flavia Cacace and her new dance partners weren’t averse to a bit of suggestive steaminess which you might expect in a modern tango. Despite the absence of Vincent Simone, it was clear Cacace, Di Cocco and La Rocca were loving what they were doing, and the sheer joy of their performances was lapped up by the audience.
However, for this writer, the highlight was violinist Oliver Lewis who was quite simply brilliant. His performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee was stunning, and the show’s finale was deserving of the ovation it received from an appreciative Edinburgh audience.
In these troubled times it does one’s soul good to spend a couple of hours watching a feel-good show. And Tango Moderno felt good!
Tango Moderno is on at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday 25th November. Tickets here.
Edinburgh Reporter review: ****