Manchester Theatre News & Reviews
REVIEW - Dirty Dancing is the perfect way to kick off the Summer - It has the feelgood factor and is so hot... it's sizzling!BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE!
On Tuesday, we went to the Palace Theatre, Manchester to watch Dirty Dancing. Read what our reviewer, Lizzie Johnston had to say about this fantastic musical...
There really isn’t much of an introduction needed for this show, it’s based on a classic film loved by many and is iconic in so many ways. The global smash hit, Dirty Dancing, is back in Manchester this week at the Palace Theatre offering up the time of your life. For so many, the film has been on repeat, blasting out those famous lyrics, and sometimes even attempting the well-known lift at the end. When it comes to pre-show expectations, pretty much everyone knows and loves Dirty Dancing or even just a reference without having watched the film. So dare I say, expectations were pretty high.
Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage tells the story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. The live show brings the classic film to life, right before your eyes and features hit songs Hungry Eyes, Hey! Baby!, Do You Love Me?, and of course (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.
There was a real buzz of excitement in the theatre with Dirty Dancing fans across a range of ages gathering to watch the beloved characters come to life. From hen dos to after work socials, this is a show fit for every occasion and one to enjoy any day of the week.
The set was a typical American summer camp and a pretty good replica of the movie. Light, bright and 60s, with cabin doors and the lake backdrop to transport you straight onto vacation with the Houseman family. Evening the curtain when walking into the theatre was themed around the Kellerman’s Mountain House. The costumes were what you’d expect to see from the late 50s, early 60s with circle skirts and under skirted dresses to cropped shirts and leather jackets.
Moody and mysterious Johnny was played by Michael O’Reilly (Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage (Dominion Theatre), West Side Story, Lord Of The Flies) alongside clumsy and comical Kira Malou (Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage (Dominion Theatre), Fame, Penny on Mars) as Baby. The pair have electric chemistry and are incredible castings, embodying the legendary romantic duo we’ve grown to love. O’Reilly hits all the dance moves to rival the beloved Patrick Swayze to life, and has all the mannerisms and the intensity that Swayze is known for.
Malou is sweet and innocent, a beautifully baby-faced teenager who acts as an excellent contrast for O’Reilly’s sex appeal. She’s fantastic at showing the transformation of Baby’s dancing skills across the story, from tight hipped awkward wriggles to the awe-inspiring ending performance.
Danny Colligan (Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage (Dominion Theatre), Les Miserbables, The Book of Mormon) as Billy Kostecki and Lydia Sterling (Romeo & Juliet, Woyzceck, Godspell) as Elizabeth carry the show through the music, from opening with an upbeat rendition of This Magic Moment to a stunning performance of the cherished duet at the end. Alongside the pair was the Kellerman’s Band who bring the music to life on the stage and as part of the cast. I love when shows have live musicians on stage as it adds an extra element of excitement and curiosity as to who’s playing what and how they fit into the story. The band are seamlessly placed throughout and act as the score to the summer of love for the whole ensemble.
The ensemble is incredible. The talent brought to the stage made the whole show look easy and effortless, with dancers showcasing unbelievable moves. It’s jaw-droppingly impressive and perfect in every way.
Overall, the stage show keeps pretty close to the original story and has all the parts we know and love, with any trickier moment pulled off using clever effects. When it came to the infamous dance, it was perfection, hitting every move known and loved by so many, and attempted by a few. As soon as Johnny ran into the theatre and declared “nobody puts Baby in the corner”, the theatre erupted. It’s these moments that make you love theatre, when the whole auditorium is engrossed into the story and emotion floods the place - this was the moment we’d all been waiting for. Those five minutes are pure joy and elation, exactly what you would hope for from Dirty Dancing.
This show is the perfect start to summer. It’s an overwhelming blast of nostalgia that sucks you in and leaves you wanting more. Get down to Kellerman’s Mountain House and relive this joyful, energetic story. It’s an uplifting, feel good show full of iconic bangers and it’s true….you will have the time of your life!
WE SCORE DIRTY DANCING...
Dirty Dancing is on at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until Saturday 3rd June.
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