Dance ‘Til Dawn – Theatre Review

Dance ‘Til Dawn
New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
09/02/2015

Strictly Come Dancing favourites Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace are back with a brand new show Dance ‘Til Dawn. After touring the country with Midnight Tango, the dazzling duo return in a new dance show straight from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The lighting design is most enchanting, the stage awash with swathes of colour to match the mood – it never becomes intrusive and always adds so much to the scenes: you get the feeling that this would be a photographers field day as the dreamy moods are already set there to capture. The set is also cleverly designed, with film set styled scaffolding that leaves the stage open for the dances and the transition into other scenes is smooth and seemingly effortless.

One feels that Karen Bruce’s input as a director and co-choreographer is vital, another eye on choreography you yourself are performing can often make a huge difference in terms of aesthetics. She ensures both acting and dancing are sharp, and that the routines are appropriate to both the style and the scene itself.

Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, as you would expect, show a real chemistry and their dancing is second to none. Simone gives us that cheeky chappy persona as Tony Deluca, and Cacace is very sweet as Sadie Strauss. Their tender waltz to Moonriver is a delight and their frantically paced,  technically challenging, fiery tango finale , which they make seem effortless, is rousing. Their footwork is nimble, elegant and light, and their precision of movement, particularly in the tango, is remarkable: but then again the pair are the king & queen of the Latin dances.

Clearly an homage to Lina Lamont from the classic Singin’ In The Rain, Luna,  played superb by Abbie Osmon, provides the stand out moments of the evening. Her belt is sublime and her acting choices acute and committed, her rendition of That’s Life is certainly worth much praise. She gives us a shrill voiced diva that sits well in the memory, perhaps because it is a character we recognise so well – a turn in Singin’ In The Rain may suit her well. Singer Oliver Darley has a rich, clean voice with something of an eerie quality to it. His vocals are controlled and solid, however an ounce more charisma and showmanship is desired for the style of certain numbers;  that little spark of Sinatra or his contemporaries is unfortunately missing. Teddy Kempner ties the piece together as he narrates as private investigator Tommy Dubrowski, he plays up the jokes suitably and makes sure the plot is clear in a show in which not many characters speak.

The ensemble must be recognised for an outstanding performance also, their many routines of various styles were performed with such great energy and pizazz. From their comedic quickstep chase scene to their high energy Charleston and Jive they never let the tempo drop, their role is a vital one and they don’t disappoint.

The concept of the show, as a platform for the dances, is very well put together. Running gags and a satirical take on the era give it a recognisable quality complete with the charm you would expect: it is a  light-hearted comedy, very much in a pastiche mould that gives the dances story and direction. The programme features Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers as well as Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, and while the style of the show is of the Hollywood golden era it would have been nice to perhaps have a slight nod to these household names, perhaps a segment of choreography that is recognisable from their famous routines – also a tap number would have really completed the feel of the period and style.

This show will have you bobbing along in your seat in parts, and will have your eyes glued to the stage at others. A very competently put together production, with flair and energy by the bucketload – and the dancing is dazzling.

4.0

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Sam Chipman

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Actor, singer, saxophonist and theatre reviewer - Lover of Musical theatre, literature, wine and cups of tea. Member of The Labour Party.