Reviewer: Paul Jones
Shows featuring the Argentine Tango have become a staple of the theatre year thanks to the success of Midnight Tango featuring the stars of Strictly Come Dancing. Tangomotion offers something entirely different. An incredible quartet of musicians guides us through the nuances of all tango styles aided by four of the world’s greatest tango dancers.
Where shows like Midnight Tango and Burn the Floor have been an entire dance production with the music taking a backseat, here the musicians are front and centre and give us a musical master class of all the different tango styles. The group Tango Siempre (meaning Tango Forever) are incredible. Band leader Jonathan Taylor is our host for proceedings giving the history of the tango. From its beginnings in 1920’s Buenos Aires, through to the nouveau composers. Taylor has a relaxed and familiar approach to what is a complex musical genre. His introductions to the songs help audiences hear the subtle differences between one piece and the next.
The quartet is comprised of some of the world’s lead players and each is given a chance to showcase their talents within the show. Julian Rowlands on the bandoneon is masterful. His playing of what is regarded as one of the toughest instruments to play is effortless, the sound rich and atmospheric. Tom Mason and Ros Stephen complete the quartet, and audiences would be hard pressed to find a better band playing anywhere this evening.
The dancers are introduced purely by first names Jenny, Daniel, Pauline and Richard. Each couple has a style of their own and where one is controlled and sultry the other is more exuberant and free. The dancers never really set the stage alight though, yes the dancing is precise and intricate with ganchos and paradas aplenty, but there are never any truly breathtaking moments.
You could call the evening’s entertainment more of a guided concert, where the dancing serves more as punctuation in the story the songs are telling. The show fails to capture the passion of the tango and is more informative than entertaining, all the ingredients are there for this to be something incredible but it just doesn’t seem to come together.