Much-loved Dirty Dancing became an instant box office hit in the 1987 film starring Jennifer Gray and Patrick Swayze. It`s just as popular now as it was then and Baby, Johnny and those smooth dance moves are back! And this time at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.
Set in the New York Catskills Mountains, 17 year old Frances `Baby` Houseman is unknowingly about to have her life changed. Whilst on a mundane holiday with her family, Baby stumbles upon an all-night raunchy dance party in the staff quarters. It`s like nothing else Baby has ever seen before but she`s drawn to it…those mesmerising dancing moves and those pounding rhythms. It`s where awkward Baby first meets confident and slick dancing instructor Johnny Castle. Johnny is in need of a dance partner and Baby naively offers her help, despite having no idea how to dance. For this to work Baby is going to need a lot of dance practice and Johnny is going to need a lot of patience.
When the strong music beats started the audience enthusiastically cheered as they were whisked back to the summer of 1963. The packed theatre excitedly watched the growing chemistry between Baby and Johnny whilst indulging in much loved hits such as Hey! Baby and Do You Love Me?. Katie Hartland is perfect as Baby and Lewis Griffiths wowed the audience with his dance moves. There was some incredibly strong vocal talent too from Elizabeth played by Daniela Pobega and Michael Kent played by Billy Kostecki.
Hit after hit was well received, as we're the iconic lines such as “I carried a watermelon” and “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”. Without doubt though it was the big finale that was the highlight of the show. The Time of my Life exceeded all expectations with its incredibly entertaining choreography and that famous lift! All this, whilst at the same time Daniela Pobega and Billy Kostecki are impressing the audience with their singing. It was like an explosion of talent which the audience couldn`t get enough of. Yet they all made it look so effortless.
The supporting cast all nicely complemented Baby and Johnny, with Penny - played by Megan Louch - exhibiting some particularly impressive dance moves. Well executed stage changes helped move the story along swiftly, whilst also being incredibly fitting, and the use of trees on either side of the stage were particularly effective, nicely framing the centre action. The white blind in the bedroom silhouetting Baby and Johnny also worked artistically well. In regards to the music, the use of a soundtrack had a strong impact but the live musicians gave an extra edge, especially as the solo saxophonist Matthew James Hinchcliffe played In the Still of the Night.
All effort has been taken to make this production as pleasing to the eyes and ears as possible. By the end the whole audience was dancing and the show finished to huge cheers and applause.
Dirty Dancing runs at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until 3 Dec.
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