Robert Tanitch reviews Wild Tango at Peacock Theatre, London

Robert Tanitch reviews Wild Tango at Peacock Theatre, London

The tango, carnal and fatalistic, is danced cheek to cheek, crotch to crotch, to a halting and relentlessly repeated hypnotic rhythm. It is a sado¬masochistic battle of the sexes, which always ends with the total submission of the woman.

The tango had its origins in the brothels of Buenos Aires at the end of the 19th century, when it was danced by pimps and prostitutes whilst waiting for customers.

Or so we had always been led to believe. But the truth is two men dancing together is the most traditional form of the tango.

German Cornejo’s Wild Tango is male led. There are 12 dancers and only three of them are women. There are four musicians. The sound is amplified and distorted. Everybody knows that it takes two to tango. In this production it often takes three.

The show is a mixture of tango, contemporary dance, urban, malambo and circus. The dangerous aerial acrobatics are a special feature. The energy is fantastic.

However, if you are expecting brylcreemed hair, double-breasted suits, fedoras, white scarves, patent shoes, spats, split skirts, plunging backlines, fish-net stockings, feather boas and high-heeled stiletto shoes, forget it.

Wild Tango is not your usual tango show. It’s wilder, grittier, noisier, more uncontrollable, messier, aimed at a different, non-tango purist audience.

It is always fascinating to watch the criss-crossing, interweaving legs and the fast and highly dangerous kicks between the dancer’s legs. One mistimed murderous quick kick and shins could be lacerated; and not only shins.

Sadly, in the first act, the dark baggy trousers the men wear and the way the dancers are lit means the audience is unable to see the formidable leg and feet movements in sharp relief.

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