The Theatreguide.London Review
Aldwych Theatre Winter 2014-2015 and tour
Dance 'Til Dawn is a beautiful, inventive, colourful and witty piece of dance theatre, and a thoroughly entertaining evening.
If I sound a bit surprised, it's because the same team's previous show, Midnight Tango, was a bit of a yawn, and there was nothing in advance to suggest that Dance 'Til Dawn was going to be so very much better.
Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace are competition dance champions, best known as two of the partners on TV's Strictly Come Dancing, the professional dancers whose job is to make the celebrities look good.
Working here with writer Ed Curtis, director Karen Bruce and a company of skilled dancers, they have created and choreographed a fun story told largely through dance that is also an exuberant celebration of the history and traditions of Broadway and Hollywood dance.
The plot is a 1940s-style hardboiled detective story, complete with blackmail, murder, betrayal and a sexy floozie. Actor Teddy Kempner plays the 'tec, narrating the story while peppering it with venerable corny jokes ('My wife left me for my best friend. I miss him.') and self-referential in-jokes ('This is a perfect setting for the first act finale').
Abbie Osmon is the not-so-dumb blonde, complete with Lina Lamont speaking voice but the ability to belt out a song with the best of them.
Simone and Cacace meet cute and, in true Astaire and Rogers fashion, she at first doesn't like him but is won over when she realises how well they dance together. (Later there is another Fred-and-Ginger staple, the exuberant dance for the sheer joy of dancing.)
They witness a murder and go on the run, he is framed for the killing, and she has to try and get the evidence that will free him.
So, in addition to their several romantic duets, we get a comic cops-and-bad-guys chase dance, a sexy seduce-the-villains ballet, and big production numbers set in a movie studio, a party and a night club.
As choreographers Simone and Cacace have done their homework and the dances, without ever copying or quoting, allude to classic dances by Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Michael Kidd and Gene Kelly.
The dancing is all done to pop standards from Moon River to Stand By Me, most sung by Oliver Darley as a kind of voice-of-the-soundtrack, and the juxtaposition of song and dance, though sometimes surprising, always proves to be right for the moment.
As dancers, Simone and Cacace make an attractive couple, with a range and versatility they haven't displayed before. They're not required to act much and, while he occasionally makes an effort, she maintains an unwavering Leslie Caron smile throughout.
But they are equally adept and fun to watch at waltz and bop and jazz and ballet, and their final tango is as showy and torridly sexy as you could possibly ask for.
Dance 'Til Dawn may well be the best Good Night Out in London this season. It is certainly the best dance show around.
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Review - Dance 'Til Dawn - Aldwych Theatre 2014