Dance Review: Dance til Dawn - Edinburgh Playhouse ✭✭✭✭✭

Review by Anne Mackie

Dance til Dawn’ is a carefully balanced musical-come-‘Strictly Come Dancing’ vehicle that is an irrefutable visual and oral treat that delivers a sheer spectacle of joyous entertainment! 

With a narrative by Ed Curtis, this is a production that does not take itself too seriously, incorporating slapstick humour, witty one-liners, an impressive live band, magnificent vocals and of course, stunning choreography as delivered by its two headlining stars – Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace

This is the second stage show by Simone and Cacace, who shot to fame as two of the professional dancers on ITV’s hit prime-time television programme ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Their first production, ‘Midnight Tango’, was crafted around their skill and aptitude in the Argentine tango. However, on this occasion they’ve aimed for something broader and lighter hearted, with a comic murder-mystery plot, a 1940's Hollywood setting, a film star romance and plenty of different dance styles which undeniably brought the house down.

The dramatised dance show which is directed and co-choreographed by Karen Bruce adds a ‘film noir’ finish to Simone and Cacace's captivating ballroom routines. The couple play lovers, Sadie Strauss (a Hollywood star) and Tony Deluca in the 'Dick Tracey' style spoof which is filled with sharp comic timing, fused together with diverse musical numbers and innovative yet awe-inspiring dances from start to finish.

The moment the former Strictly stars take to the stage, the show instantly springs into action. There's the furiously fast Charleston, the hot-footed Quickstep and eye-popping Jive routines combined with perfectly passionate Tangos and silky smooth Foxtrots. (And that's only naming a few!) The choreography leads the audience effortlessly from scene to scene without uttering a word of dialogue. A poignant moment for any theatre-goer.

It would be unjust to continue the review without mentioning the superb ensemble of outstanding dancers and singers whose dynamic commitment, flawless footwork and liquid gold vocals support Vincent and Flavia effortlessly. A special mention should also be given to Teddy Kempner (as The Voice/Narrator) and his female comedy partner-in-crime (pardon the pun), Abbie Osmon as Lana Clemenza. The pair's comic timing is quick and engaging while Osmon's vocals prove particularly mind-blowing. Or dare I say it again... Face meltingly good.

Simone and Cacace’s set pieces are simply breath-taking throughout the production, however notable highlights include their performance of ‘Stand by Me’, a routine which incorporated elements of the Tango, Rumba and other ballroom influences which coincidently brought many an audience member to their feet. At the opposite end of the spectrum was their Quickstep to Paolo Nutini's ‘Pencil Full of Lead', in which the full company used slapstick comedy to its full potential to enhance the silliness of the ‘cop chase’ in Act 1. Clever, dynamic and not a step out of time!

Having waltzed and rumba'd through the production, the show ends with its stars’ pièce de résistance, a stripped-back yet gloriously passionate tango. Simone and Cacace’s finale dance, performed as if for the Hollywood cameras, was smooth, sexy and full of apical footwork, interlacing legs and razor sharp kicks. In addition, the carefully crafted lifts proved beautifully dramatic yet smooth, creating an explosive ending to a fun-filled and fast-paced spectacle of exquisite choreography. Glorious.

Whether you can dance or whether you can’t, quick step to the Playhouse to catch this sheer delight of a show before it jives off on the next leg of its tour. Don’t miss it.

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