So, even though, with hubby away and no alarm clock screaming at me at 6am - why I am still awake early enough to write a review?
The brochure blurb probably did this show a disservice - we were expecting a dance fest, akin to ‘Simply Ballroom’ - instead it was a showcase for the five piece band, Tango Siempre, featuring dancing by four Latin American dancers who appeared in the trailers for Strictly Come Dancing some time ago. So after the dancers left the stage following their first dance, we’re thinking: isn’t it nice that the band carry on playing for us, whilst the dancers change for their next one?
Set as it was in the less than salubrious surroundings of Chatham’s Central Theatre (can somebody please take a broom to the stage, and how about a new back curtain while you’re at it, that one’s full of holes) it took a while to warm up. The tango, as you know, is moody and passionate; the Argentine Tango sultry - the atmosphere wasn’t helped by the dancers taking to the stage looking as though they were going to splutter into giggles any second - think the Roman soldiers in the infamous Biggus Dickus/Incontinentia Buttox ‘Life of Brian’ scene and you get my drift. Neither the pianist, Jonathan, who introduced the songs, nor the dancers themselves, let us in on the joke.
The realisation that the band weren’t there just to accompany the dancing gave fresh scope for enjoyment, particularly as Jonathan spoke to us more, telling the story behind his songs. ‘Grey Shoes’ was my favourite dance - a fiery affair with the two male dancers fighting over a lone female. A little confusing at the end, as the guys left the stage together, leaving her alone, but hey, each to their own!
The third dance was playful, the fourth fast and intricate, even with a wardrobe malfunction familiar to SCD watchers (heel caught in hem) and both dancing and music ventured into different territory after the interval; best song of the night for me was the Astor Piazolla/John Coltrane inspired ‘Giants Steps’ or ‘Big Feet’ Jonathan said it actually translated as!
It should have been an altogether more glamorous affair; with only the stalls occupied and the ‘set’ reminding me of a dusty old attic full of junk - the show itself lacked pizazz. I’d enjoy seeing it again I think, but perhaps in a more intimate, Latin club setting instead of a half empty suburban theatre. I’m sure the band would prefer that too, the wry smile between bassist and pianist early doors held a hint of: At least it pays the bills. An accomplished band of musicians fusing classical, tango and jazz and with a Latin Grammy nomination to their credit, they deserved better, maybe being booked under the banner of the upcoming Medway Fuse Festival would have been a wiser decision.
For further info on Tango Siempre, visit www.tangomusic.co.uk.