Production: Dirty Dancing
Venue: Grand Opera House, York
Review by: Julia Pattison
With the Kellerman’s Band at the helm, featuring some fantastic musicians under the watchful eye of Touring Head of Music Miles Russell, this Dirty Dancing show was ready to float your boat.
A vibrant opening number, Be My Baby performed by the Dirty Dancing Company set the scene, and brilliantly captured the atmosphere of a typical 1960s holiday hotel.
We soon got to know the various characters, Frances ‘ Baby ’ Houseman (brilliantly portrayed by Kira Malou) and her fairly well-to-do family, and Johnny Castle (played with suitable swagger by Michael O’Reilly) a dancer employed by Kellerman’s who came from the streets and had a completely different outlook on life to Baby.
Circumstances threw them together, and issues of class, family, loyalty, right and wrong were tackled head on, woven into an excellent coming-of age story.
It was a case of Strictly, eat your heart out when Simone Covele playing Penny Johnson and Johnny strutted their stuff – the loud applause was well-deserved.
Some great cameo performances from Mark Faith as Mr Schumacher too.
Some technical problems on this opening night were deftly dealt with; all credit to the backstage crew – often unsung heroes!
Johnny was given much vocal appreciation from ardent lady fans when he flashed the flesh at times. When he and Baby rehearsed for their performance the stage positively smouldered with sensuality.
Clever use of background projection ensured that the famous lift scene in the lake lived up to expectation and you felt their elation when they finally succeeded in perfecting the move.
A cheer went up as Johnny strutted up onto the stage at the finale and uttered the line we’d all been waiting for - “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”.
The fairy tale came true, and we all had the time of our lives.