by Ron Hutchinson based on a story by Victoria Fischer.

Live Theatre Broad Chare NE1 3DQ To 20 December 2014.
Sat 2pm & 7.30pm.
Runs 2hr 10min One interval.

TICKETS: 0191 232 1232.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 14 December.

Outstanding flair in this fling with the Tango.
This new play ends Live’s year with a fling. A young middle-class woman from Buckinghamshire, Virginia – she is indeed a virgin at life beyond the cage of middle-class English respectability and its inevitable path towards marriage – is artistic, working as an auctioneer. Yet, like art-salesman Vincent Van Gogh in Nicholas Wright’s play Vincent in Brixton, it takes a passion found abroad to awaken her deeper understanding of art.

Leaving Phil her fiancé and others behind, Virginia follows the footsteps and falls into the arms, then bed, of Argentinian Tango teacher Marco. Only when the dance lessons end does she discover his talk of love and passion expressed through the dance is promotional baloney, smashing her hopes of a life there with him.

It is, as she recounts, on the plane back to England that she is literally flying into daylight. Yet, for all the naivety and disappointment, the Argentine adventure has opened new possibilities within herself.

The production is beautifully cast. Summer Strallen is both a lively, engaging actor and an outstanding dancer. When she shifts from her sober “nun’s dress”, as Marco terms her English outfit, into the sun-bright yellow frock he hands her, and her legs flash as she whirls about Jos Vantyler in the dance sections, the physical skill seems to express Virginia’s liberated spirit.

Vantyler’s Marco often stands steady, with less extravagant movement, suggesting Tango can express a power-relationship between the sexes. Certainly, the performance has moments of reserve, suggesting the Latino-temperament might be an act; ironically, of someone from a background as dreary in its way as Virginia’s. For the teacher too, Tango provides release from life.

Play and production combine the complexity of the pair’s relationship, contrasted by Virginia’s duller encounters in England, with Amir Giles’ energetic, impassioned choreography. The directors ensure the pace moves with the thrill of Virginia’s youth, Marco always turning-up when wanted as she relates her story.

Giving the dance itself a personality on stage there’s live music from Julian Rowlands on badnoneon, the concertina-like instrument whose sound has long interweaved itself with Tango’s whole mood and personality.

Virginia: Summer Strallen.
Marco/Phil/Larry: Jos Vantyler.
Musician: Julian Rowlands.

Directors: Ron Hutchinson, Max Roberts.
Designer: Gary McCann.
Lighting: Michael Rippeth.
Composer: Julian Rowlands.
Choreographer: Amir Giles.

2014-12-20 12:17:56

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