Theatre Review: Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing - Stage Show
Dirty Dancing comes to the stage. I definitely wanted to see this. Dirty Dancing is only one of three films that’s always in my top ten from the 1980s. Could this ‘Be My Baby’? or become a ‘Wipe-out’?

If you’ve never ever seen the film? Why not?!

Basically it’s coming of age story for our heroine Baby Houseman who meets Johnny Castle at a holiday park in the summer of 1963. Her father wants her to change the world but only on his terms and when she becomes involved with Johnny – it’s trouble!

Paul-Michael Jones and Jennifer Winternitz take over the roles of Johnny Castle and Baby Houseman. From the first scene Jennifer and Paul-Michael did an amazing job playing the lovebirds from different classes.

I loved Paul-Michael’s accent and his dancing was thrilling. Jennifer was able to bring a sweet naivety yet sassiness to the role of Baby. I loved her learning to dance.

The stage show did a fantastic job of keeping mostly to the film. The only major omission I could see was no Mrs. Schumacher, there was only a Mr. Schumacher (charmingly played by Tony Stansfield).

Nicky Griffiths played Penny, and all three leads did a great turn keeping the dance routines alive and energetic. There was the Mambo, the staff area where Dirty Dancing itself is performed in secret. Baby gets a shock when she offers to carry a watermelon to help Billy, one of the staff she likes. This is where she gets to speak to Johnny and utter the best chat up line ever, ‘I carried a watermelon.’

Humour came from Stefan Menaul who played Neil Kellerman, the ‘dad dancing’ and awful jokes were just superb! He looked like he was having a lot of fun.

The way they got over Johnny and Baby practicing their dancing in the woods and lake was very imaginative.

Nearly all the major songs also return with a couple of new ones. I enjoyed the differences, as what works on film might not on work on stage. I don’t think an exact word for word, scene for scene would’ve worked. These are different people and they must be allowed to bring their own personalities out.

I believe the actress who was playing Lisa might’ve been one of the understudies, Tara Verloop? She played her perfectly, I loved her song and routine in the run up to the Kellerman’s talent show!

The stage props were excellent and I loved the idea of a rotating circle in the middle to help with moving scenery, plus the way the doors would come out. There was either a projector or TV screens that helped with the splendid mountain views.

Everyone pitched in and it just made an enjoyable afternoon show for all involved.

This is one of those times, where lack of a ‘big’ name has no impact on whether the show is a hit or miss. The cast gelled so well and made me believe I was in Kellerman’s.

There was some great singing too and I predict a lot of the cast will become stars and household names.

10/10 from me for this extravaganza. I’VE had the time of my life!

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About Erzi Paris

Erzi Paris lives in London and loves writing, going to the theatre and watching films. Always abreast of celebrity news, his biggest hope is to be a reporter. He likes keep-fit too. His favourite authors are Michael Crichton, JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins and Rosalind Miles.
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