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Dirty Dancing (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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It’s the Summer of 1963 - before President Kennedy was shot, before the Beatles came, and before anybody was foolish enough to leave Baby in a corner.

This is Dirty Dancing - the iconic movie that has now inspired a spectacularly risqué, yet wonderfully romantic, piece of theatrical entertainment. Set in the Catskill Mountains at the Kellerman’s holiday resort, the story tells of Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman, and her transformation from daddy’s girl, to the woman of dance instructor Johnny Castle’s dreams.

Going to this production, it is easy to make the presumption that nothing can ever top the performances of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray. Undoubtedly, Emily Holt and Paul-Michael Jones are not the original movie couple - their delivery of some of the most famous lines is not done quite as successfully as in the film, and their chemistry is never going to create quite the same spark.

What they have done, however, is make the parts their own. Whilst the lines themselves remain almost identical to the film script, Holt and Jones offer that something ‘different’ for an audience to enjoy. Furthermore, the ensemble of the production do an incredible job of adding the dirty into the dance and - I would go as far as to say - exceeding the standard seen in the renowned 1987 movie.

Their movement is effortless, their lifts captivating, and the moment they come on in ‘that’ closing scene to provide the backing to Johnny and Baby’s final dance, is enough to make you have the time of your life, alone.

A special mention must go to Tim Mitchell, for a stunning lighting design, as well as Charlotte Gooch, for a truly believable and fully rounded performance as Johnny’s pregnant dance partner, Penny Johnson.

Boasting renowned songs, a tight cast and dancing at its very best, this is a show that will indisputably leave your eyes hungry for more.

- Rebecca Cohen.


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