Jessica Wilson is at the Peacock Theatre, London
March 4, 2016
Full of smouldering dance moves and trademark tango twists and flips, Germán Cornejo and his renowned dance partner Gisela Galeassi lead a cast of 14 dancers, plus a live band and vocals on stage, in an entertaining evening. Aiming to bring the glamour of Hollywood to life, Immortal Tango has been created solely by international tango superstar Cornejo, and prompts numerous instances of passion and an array of costumes – for the females, at least – in addition to an abundance of sharp tango footwork.
Throughout the combination of traditional tango hits, pop and Hollywood blockbuster songs, the twist on the Latin technique is mostly successful. Immortal Tango breaks away from standard tango show formats at the inclination of Cornejo, and what results is an eclectic mix of fashion, cabaret, live singing and variety show entertainment. The main flavour of the show is glamour, channelling a timeless Hollywood through Buenos Aires to the masked ballrooms of Paris and back again.
High technical skill dispels the temporary moments of farce, which at first appear to devalue the intensity of the dancers’ passion and technique. However, as the dancers ease into the show the intention of the comic relief becomes apparent, rather than simply an unwelcome distraction from the power of the dancers.
Dagger-sharp technique and a fluid sensuality effectively covers the sometimes garish display of the chosen pieces that at times are a combination of grand cinematic soundtrack, a touch of ABBA and long striped socks for the Footloose finale.
Fittingly, the performers remain individuals through their own interpretations of the movement, making their own mark on the work. An energetic tango trio stood out with its flicks and turns, as did a powerful rendition to the James Bond Skyfall theme, matched with fearless lifts and sharp spins across the stage. The staccato nature of tango lends itself well to the huge impact the Immortal Tango dancers have, the ensemble sections interspersed with moments of Cornejo and Galeassi who split-kicked and flicked their way to being the highlight of the show.
Whilst Immortal Tango fails to completely gel, the strength, precision and control of the dancers is commendable, as is the passion and intensity conveyed throughout. As an entertaining show it is sometimes let down by a certain fussiness in the presentation of the dancers, revealing areas which are less polished, and emphasising inconsistencies in slick moments. At times the show borders on garish; music choices are sometimes questionable are do not always compliment the talent on stage.
Regardless, the vitality of the performers throughout the evening – vocals and accompaniment included – is clear, but would be heightened by a few stylistic and technical tweaks to present the tango even more proudly.
Immortal Tango is at the Peacock Theatre to March 19. For details and tickets visit www.sadlerswells.com or call the box office on 020 7863 8222.