Cornejo’s shows make for very easy viewing. The formula is tried and tested: there is no narrative, allowing for focus on the racy interplay and heightened chemistry of the couples, and the scintillating climax of the evening always features a range of astounding acrobatics that leave little room for error.
Those familiar with Tango Fire's dancers will be pleased to see many familiar couples, most notably 2015 World Tango Champions, Ezequiel Lopez and Camila Alegre; but with seven pairs in total, the cast is larger than ever before. The quality does not wane, however: the larger cast allows Cornejo and his alluring partner, Gisela Galeassi, to step in and out of the ensemble numbers, though some more stage time from them would have been enjoyable.
Act I is a relatively placid trot through some milonga routines, all dance hall informality, with swaggering men who laugh and back-slap each other between dances, while the women are their pretty accessories in inoffensive floral designs.
Marcos Esteban Roberts and Louise Malucelli are eye-catching in their Milonga de mis Amores routine. This tall couple display a balletic elegance and fine control as Malucelli’s feet dart faster and faster, on and off the floor, then around her partner into a neat climax.
The stage remains bare throughout, save for a few atmospheric lamp posts dotted around and a quartet of musicians – Quarteto Fogo – placed on a platform upstage. A few cursory fairy lights against a dark backdrop denote the change from day to evening, as Cornejo and Galeassi emerge from the darkness. Galeassi wears a black glittering, floor-length gown with a split that displays her impressive leg extensions perfectly. The routine signals a shift in mood and some more daring choreography.
Act II allows each of the featured couples to take centre stage individually to deliver their flashier party pieces. Another stalwart couple of the company, Sebastian Alvarez and Victoria Saudelli, dance to the Piazzolla classic Libertango in their signature uninhibited and raunchy style, with adventurous lifts that see Saudelli lifted above Alvarez’ head with one hand. It’s all a little wild and needs some refinement, but it’s thrilling to watch.
Naturally Cornejo and Galeassi’s contributions are the most show-stopping. They carry everything off with a sophisticated air against the pounding music of the band. Galeassi’s feet work furiously to create the illusion of spontaneity in the intricate choreography, before Cornejo launches her into the air in a lift that brings the audience to their feet.
One rather curious element, certainly notable on press night, was the abrupt finish of both acts. The collective surprise of the audience when the house lights went up to signal the interval was audible, especially as it came after only 35 minutes. Similarly, Cornejo and co. came to the front of stage and begin to bow before the audience realised they should be applauding, which they did enthusiastically.
Tango Fire efficiently fulfils its promises with stylish, sizzling tango danced to the highest level. It also remains fiercely traditional, so do not go expecting any creative boundaries to be pushed. This a show that offers some much needed sparkle to a dank January evening with its slick dancing and crowd pleasing tricks.
|What||Tango Fire Review|
|Where||Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, London, WC2A 2HT | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Holborn (underground)|
29 Jan 19 – 16 Feb 19, 19:30 Sat mat 14:30, Sun 14:00 Dur.: 2 hours inc one interval
|Price||£15-£45 (booking fee £3)|
|Website||Book via the Sadler's Wells website|