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DIRTY DANCING - LEEDS GRAND THEATRE

Published by: Cameron Lowe on 18th Nov 2014 | View all blogs by Cameron Lowe
Dirty Dancing

Review by Graham Clark

Dirty Dancing is advertised as "the biggest live theatre sensation of all time": a bold statement but one which is not far from the truth.
 
This stage production of the 25 year old movie is a magical, energetic and colourful show. If you liked the movie then you will not be disappointed by this production. With the success of TV programmes like Strictly Come Dancing, the public's appetite for dance musicals seems to be in favour again.
 
At times it was like watching Strictly with the choreography being tight and in perfect timing. The story is light: set in 1963, Penny Johnson (played with flair and innocence by Claire Rogers) becomes pregnant so she can no longer dance with her dancing partner, Johnny Castle (Gareth Bailey); a suave and muscle chested heart-throb.  Her place is taken by Frances "Baby" Houseman (Roseanna Frascona) but there is a flaw … Houseman can't dance!  The newly formed duo blossom together as Castle teaches ‘Baby' the steps and, inevitably, they become a romantic couple as well as dancing partners.
 
The songs in are a mix of early 1960's hits mixed with elements of the original movie soundtrack which work well in the production as there are more songs than dialogue.
 
There is some humour, too, with corny lines such as" Are you going to take a bath?" with the answer, "I didn't know one was missing".
 
It is easy to make comparisons to the movie but Gareth Bailey portrays Johnny Castle well; his dancing and good looks seemed to be a hit with the female members of the audience who probably have fond memories of Patrick Swayze playing the role.
 
Colin Charles as singer Tito Suarez is one of the overlooked characters but he added to the 1960's feel of the night.
 
With a standing ovation, the feeling was that this is a musical which lifts the spirits and is as enjoyable as the movie. For fans of the movie this was an early Christmas present.
 
Runs until Saturday 6th December 2014.
 
Tickets from £15.00 available from:  www.leedsgrandtheatre.com 

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