Dirty Dancing

The New Alexandra Theatre


With eager anticipation, and knowledge of the classic film, one was expecting an evening of top notch musical theatre. Sadly, this was not to be.

With the publicity blurb promising, 'Breathtaking emotion, sensational and sexy dancing, exploding with heart pounding music', this show should have been a treat to savour, alas, for the majority of the production, and in an attempt to replicate the film, the action was hurried, uninspiring and rushed.

There is a huge difference between pace and a delivery that resembles an express train! It could have benefited from some careful editing, concentrating on the core focal points. Yes, the dancing was dirty but other elements were questionable.

Only two of the show songs were full on versions, all others, merely momentary snippets. However, the accompanying on stage band were excellent.

Numerous, sometimes noisy, unnecessary scene changes dominated the action, and a couple of times the stage crew were visible, lurking in the background.

Little attempt at characterisation was evident, making it impossible to connect with the cast. A couple of scenes which should have been poignant were actually laughable. At one point, one had to question if this was a musical or a strippers convention . . . why, oh why did we have to witness the female dancers casting off their costumes to reveal bras and pants? Not relevant to the storyline, thank you!

Generally, the choreography was good, in particular, Carlie Milner as Penny Johnson stood out with her superb dancing. Johnny Castle was played by Robert Colvin ,(who provided ample eye candy for the whooping 'hens' in the audience) and Frances 'Baby'Houseman was Katie Eccles.

Drawing to its close, it was the final scene that eventually presented an injection of cohesion as Johnny uttered the iconic line, "No one puts Baby in a corner!", and to the strains of, "I've had the time of my life" it signalled the most memorable scene of all, and, as the entire company took to the stage for the rousing finale, they brought a much need spark of pizzazz to a rather confusing production. To 03-05-17.

Elizabeth M. Smith and Rosemary Manjunath


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