The story is iconic – the summer of 1963 and a family holiday at Kellerman’s Resort sees France ‘Baby’ become an adult and fall in love with a fabulous dance teacher, Johnny. Featuring hit songs such as "Hungry Eyes", "I've Had The Time Of My Life" and "Do you Love Me?" the film has been a firm favourite since its release in 1987 and has a cult following like no other.
But does this mean it will make a successful stage show and particularly a good touring production? Karl Sydow (Producer) certainly thinks so. Opening the launch with a great mambo performed by Daniel Rakasz (Johnny) and Charlotte Gooch (Penny) who both starred in the Berlin production of Dirty Dancing and certainly show that the magic of this sultry dance can be brought to life in a hotel conference room with minimal lighting and a very basis set and even taking in to consideration the low ceiling. This bodes well for this much treasured story that is idolised by so many as this small performance shows the choreography to be of a high standard.
What can audiences in Manchester expect then? Well Sydow promises it all, watermelons, a corner to put Baby in and take her out of again, cars on stage, Kellerman’s and of course, that lift will all be in there. Nothing will be left out and after five successful years performing at the Aldwych Theatre, London; it is safe to say that audiences won’t be short changed by this production.
Great care is being taken to maintain the script’s integrity and to deliver as many of the approximate 119 scenes from the film as possible. Fans of the film and audiences new to the tale won’t be disappointed. Sydow refers to it as ‘a play with music’ rather than a musical in the traditional sense which demonstrates the desire to stick to essence of the story which should please all those who see it.
Great performances by two of the original London Cast Chris Holland as Johnny and Shonagh Daly as Baby serve as a great reminder of some of iconc songs that will be featured in this production. I think it’s safe to say that theatre goers will not be disappointed in this production however November still seems like a long way off to book a ticket for the time of your life. But if today's sultry serving is anything to go by, it will be worth the wait.
Dirty Dancing runs at the Palace Theatre from 22 November 2011 – 7 January 2012.
- Ruth Lovett