The Last Tango

The Last Tango (Theatre Royal, Brighton)

Sometimes life imitates art and such was the case when I waltzed my way along to the Theatre Royal for The Last Tango. Before the show started I went to the bar and asked for my favourite orange fizzy drink only to be told that I had ordered THE LAST TANGO!

If Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacacacacace were aware of this spooky coincidence they certainly didn’t show it in their amazing dancing, which just goes to show how professional they are.

Vincent and Flavia are very good dancers, which is just as well as this show requires them to do a lot of it. They are, of course, best known for their many years as professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing, so I decided to go along dressed as Bruce Forsyth for the occasion – many people commented on my facial hair and asked if it was connected to Movember so I said yes, although I don’t actually know what that is.

I was a bit confused at first as Teddy Kempner came onto the stage and started fiddling around in boxes and tried to play a piano which didn’t work properly, which must have been an awkward moment for him, but such is his professionalism that he carried on regardless. I think he generally plays gangsters on stage so it was nice to see him playing an old man with a rocking horse. I think he was supposed to be Len Goodman, but I couldn’t see my programme properly as my Bruce Forsyth toupee kept getting into my eyes.

Vincent and Flavia were extremely good at dances ranging from the cheeky Charleston to the sultry samba, but of course they shone in the tango. I happen to know how difficult it is to dance the tango as I used to go to ballroom dancing classes and Felicity Grimthorpe used to get very cross with all of us for not doing the Cambio de Peso right and for messing up the lady’s parts.

I wasn’t quite sure how the scoring was done, but poor Vincent and Flavia kept having to come back for dance-offs and must have been very exhausted especially when the audience clearly didn’t want them voted off. It must have been very off-putting because the other dancers spent a lot of their time laughing and pretending to drink from glasses. Whenever Vincent and Flavia looked particularly tired I entertained the audience by shouting, “You’re my favourites!” and recounted stories about presenting Sunday Night at the London Palladium. 

The male dancers of the company were very nice indeed and I kept having hot flushes, but fortunately I had brought an electric fan and some sherbet lemons with me to keep my temperature down! As I thumbed through the programme I thought one of the dancers was Robert Powell (who played Jesus on TV), but in fact it was just that the dancer had a beard in his photo – an act of deduction on my part surely worthy of Hercule Poirot, who Robert Powell played on stage in Black Coffee.

There were some singers performing lots of familiar songs from my youth, though more often than not they were singing in what appeared to be a cage, which I think represented the old days when dancing the Argentine Tango was illegal and could land you in prison.

There was one very exciting moment when I spotted John Duttine, who is probably best known for appearing in The Day of Triffids on TV, in the audience. I rummaged in my bag for my Sharpie, hoping to get him to sign my make-up mirror, or some other trinket, but he quickly disappeared when he saw me approaching him. There weren’t any other well-known people in the audience, which is odd because Flavia is married to that actor who used to be in Eastenders and Corrie and I thought he might have been there, but perhaps he has an acting job or Flavia told him to Hoover the house before she got home.

The evening belonged to Vincent and Flavia and it’s sad to think that they will never dance again. I didn’t realise there was a law which dictated when you had to stop dancing (and it makes a mockery of the weekly Strictly call to “keep dancing”) but it must be quite new, as it obviously didn’t apply to Gene Kelly, who appeared in the hit film Xanadu in 1980.

Pam Perde