Outside, the streets of Holborn are full of sleet and Brexit. Inside the Peacock Theatre, all is warm and lit in the golden tones of a Buenos Aires sunset. Tango Fire, now in its fourteenth year of touring, is a straightforward presentation of the sensual beauty of Argentine Tango, performed by a cast of twelve world-class dancers and four exquisite musicians.
There is pink and orange on the cyclorama; there are gliding walks and syncopated leg hooks; there are dramatic drops and lifts; there are jewel-coloured cocktail dresses and glittering black gowns; there is an unironic starcloth. This is not a show that seeks to challenge or provoke, this is a show that wants unapologetically to entertain; and on a freezing January night that’s truly more than welcome.
The first half brings the cast together for a series of ensemble choreographies punctuated by individual duets. The ensemble work is strong, but the duets (although choreographed) give the couples greater freedom to respond to one another, and to the live music, than the tight unison of the ensembles allows. The second half gives each couple their own moment in the spotlight with flashier, showdance-style duets featuring higher leg extensions and more vertiginous lifts. It’s certainly thrilling, but lacks the sensual intimacy of the first half.
Tango Fire does not pretend to be anything it’s not: you won’t find anything melancholy, or problematic, or downright puzzling here. But the unpretentiously entertaining certainly has its place, and Tango Fire gives us that with an elegant sizzle.
Originally published at londonist.com