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Review: Dance Til Dawn at Sunderland Empire

Dance show at Sunderland Empire leaves you feeling good with exquisite steps and spine-tingling music

Dance 'Til Dawn starring Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone

Somehow Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace blend dance sophistication with gumshoe slapstick in a show which would have even Craig Revel Horwood reaching for his ten.

Dance ’Til Dawn is a charming stage pick-me-up, full of wise guy one-liners, stunning set-pieces, gorgeous costumes and hair shinier than Cheryl’s.

Directed by Karen Bruce, who brought us Vincent and Flavia’s first show Midnight Tango, this new production hangs around a goofy noir pastiche set in 1940s Los Angeles.

There’s a sassy femme fatale with a big voice (Abbie Osmon), her Ant Hill Mob-type gangsters, stolen photographs, a shooting, a court scene and a dramatic love story.

And all with very little dialogue, save for the entertaining narration provided by cartoonish private eye Tommy Dabrowski (Teddy Kemper), aided by comical sound effects.

He keeps the thread of the story tight through constantly referring to the farcical plot, as in: “It was easier than I expected to discover where they were hiding. I stood in the centre of the stage while they pushed the set in behind me.”

The story’s main purpose is, of course, to hang the dances on, and fans of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing will tick boxes including Charleston, foxtrot, quickstep, waltz and rumba alongside Vincent’s and Flavia’s signature tango.

The sleek behind-bars tango is enthralling but the final classic Argentine tango is the real spine-tingling, exquisitely executed show-stopper, completed by a roof-raising cheer.

All the big dance numbers are set to well-chosen tunes played by a live orchestra, from recent hits by Paolo Nutini and Adele to classics such as Cry Me a River, Stand By Me and Nina Simone’s Feeling Good – which is exactly how you leave the theatre.

Tamzin Mackie

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