For fans of the hit 80s film, this theatrical adaptation is not to be missed. With impressive dance-sequences and a nostalgic soundtrack, Dirty Dancing creates an immersive experience of the beloved film. The movie starred the late, great Patrick Swayze and the dazzling Jennifer Grey. If you don't know the plot, Frances ‘Baby' Houseman and her family go to a holiday camp. Here, the resort's dance instructor Johnny chooses her as his student and the two fall in love. So, the show is about love and music, and I guess this is the reason why it is such a classic, but there are also background themes of race, class and politics.
Michael O'Reilly plays the perfect Johnny Castle, seducing the audience with his sultry nature and provocative dance moves. But behind the muscles is a sensitive side that all ‘Johnny-boy' fans have grown to love. Kira Malou in turn, plays Baby to a T; matching her mannerisms, voice and sweet but firm nature.
As the show was a more heightened, almost parodical version of the original tale, moments of the plot feel out of place in comparison to the film. For example, when Penny discovers her unwanted pregnancy, Baby's father is summoned to aid with the abortion. The moment feels unnatural within a show that's main appeal is its joviality. Despite this, the performances from Carlier Milner as Penny and Lyndon Edwards as Jake Houseman excel as they commit fully and enthusiastically to every scene.
With the hit songs Hungry Eyes, Hey! Baby, Do You Love Me? And, of course, (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, the show features the original 1987 script by Eleanor Bergstein and is directed by Federico Bellone with a creative team completed by choreographer Austin Wilks, lighting designer Valerio Tiberi, sound designer Armando Vertullo and supervising musical director Richard John.
Overall, Dirty Dancing is fun, flirty and full of energy; a joyous ode to the classic tale.
The show runs until 29 April. You can find tickets from £24 here and you can use the code LTR8 for an extra 8% discount!
Review: Bibi Lucille Photo: Mark Senior