8/6/2019 0 Comments
“Nobody puts Baby in a corner…” is one of the most memorable quotes from Dirty Dancing as the story dances into the finale, but whilst we all love the film, how does it fare on stage?
Sophie Mei Lan went to review Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage at Leeds Grand Theatre as it concludes its 2018/19 UK tour.
Dirty Dancing is one of the only films I can watch time and time again. From the lifts and the steps to the love story and comical moments. It’s an absolute timeless classic.
So I jumped at the chance to see Dirty Dancing in Leeds and what better way to spend a Monday evening?
The show stars Michael O’Reilly making his professional debut as ‘Johnny Castle’, Katie Eccles (normally it’s Kira Malou) as idealistic ‘Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman’ and Millie Hood (normally it’s Simone Covele) as ‘Penny Johnson’.
The inside of the theatre was all lit in pink to mark the occasion and I just knew we were in for a feel-good treat.
Straight away we’re immersed into the Summer of ‘63 as we watch the various love and lust stories unfold at the holiday resort.
It’s a simple setting with all the cheese from the original film and it’s everything we want it to be. It doesn’t veer off from the original and why should it, as we all love it as it is?
The cast are all strong and believable and shimmy in to all the classic moments with good humour and sensitivity. It's hard to believe that it's O'Reilly's professional debut as Johnny as he fills the shoes of his character perfectly.
France aka Baby is exactly as you expect - loveable, naive and optimistic.
It’s particularly comical as Baby and Johnny practice the lifts in the water. You can’t not help but laugh and love this simple timeless production, perfect for Dirty Dancing fans like me.
We all squealed when Johnny returns through a side door of the theatre and leaps on stage to do the final show with Frances/Baby.
Produced by Karl Sydow and written by Eleanor Bergstein - script writer of the phenomenally successful 1987 film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray - the production features all the much-loved characters, original dialogue from the iconic film (plus extra scenes) and countless hit songs, including Hungry Eyes, Hey! Baby, Do You Love Me? and the heart stopping (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.
Dirty Dancing story
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.
Baby’s 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, and two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives.
You can’t help but want to join in playing Simon Says or learning to dance with them. Luckily, we were all up dancing in the auditorium at the end to finish the night off perfectly.
Dirty Dancing on Stage is everything you want it to be. And I promise you’ll be singing and dancing your way home… or maybe that’s just me.
I just want to watch it again and again!
Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 5 to Saturday 17 August 2019
Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700
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