Dirty Dancing

A cheesy caricature of itself, Dirty Dancing is full of moments that will make you physically cringe but, if you’re after a literal movie-to-stage adaptation of the so-bad-it’s-good movie, then Dirty Dancing: The Story on Stage won’t disappoint the 1980s teenager inside you—and it would certainly deliver as the perfect “Girl’s Night Out”.

a night of theatrical romantic one-liners, innuendos, unnecessary (but very enjoyable) topless stage moments and tremendous dirty dancing.

Dirty Dancing as a film in itself is a guilty pleasure, a teen love story injected with the right amount of sex appeal, melodrama and dancing. Imagine the cheesiness that is Patrick Swayze, amp that up a few notches and you have Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage. The creative team have done an incredible job with the staging, lighting and choreography in this production; the set, designed by Roberto Comotti, is a visual treat. It works seamlessly with and around the cast’s movements and the water scene in particular is stunning. Gillian Bruce’s choreography from the curtain up captures the true essence of “dirty” in dirty dancing, filled with passion and seduction whilst still remaining elegant and beautiful to watch.

The true star of the show was Penny, played by Carlie Milner; every dance executed was delivered with flair and character and it was hard for the audience not to be mesmerised by her in group dance scenes. The dancing, on the whole, was brilliant – and whilst sometimes the character development and chemistry between characters was lacking, the talent seen in the dancing definitely made up for this.

Other notable performances came from Michael Kent and Sophia Mackay (Billy and Elizabeth) who gave beautiful renditions of some of the musical classics; it was a shame that more singing was not involved, as the pair ran well off one another, taking the cheesiness of the entire night down a tone or two.

The stage production mirrors the movie almost line-by-linewhich, considering the production is a condensed version of the film, doesn’t always work perfectly; sometimes it did feel like lines were thrust in to the dialogue without thought. The acting itself was definitely far from film-worthy, with the occasional awkward pause and bad gags clearly thrown in last minute to provide a few laughs. However, you can’t fault the production for being exactly what it was – a night of theatrical romantic one-liners, innuendos, unnecessary (but very enjoyable) topless stage moments and tremendous dirty dancing.

Reviews by Sarah Virgo

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Performances

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The Blurb

Dirty Dancing is back! Exploding with heart-pounding music, breathtaking emotion and sensationally sexy dancing. Seen by millions across the globe this worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Featuring 35 hit songs, including “Hungry Eyes”, “Hey Baby”, “Do You Love Me?” and the heart stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life”.

It’s the summer of 1963, and 17 year-old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman is about to learn some major lessons in life as well as a thing or two about dancing. On holiday in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents, she shows little interest in the resort activities, and instead discovers her own entertainment when she stumbles across an all-night dance party at the staff quarters. Mesmerised by the raunchy dance moves and the pounding rhythms, Baby can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle the resort dance instructor. Her life is about to change forever as she is thrown in at the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady both on-stage and off, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives.

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