Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage ★★★ Dominion Theatre | Feb 2 - Apr 16, 2022


Dirty Dancing is set in a very particular time and place. It is 1963 and America is on the brink of major social upheaval. The nascent Civil Rights movement and the impending Vietnam war are overshadowing everything as an upper middle class New York family arrive for their annual vacation at a holiday camp. The paper-thin plot deals with the family's idealistic younger daughter, Baby, and her involvement with a young working class man, Johnny, whose job is to act as a dance instructor/gigolo at their holiday camp. It is the age-old story of love across class lines. But all of this is irrelevant to an audience who have come to see a cult classic film brought to the stage. Specifically, they are here to see Johnny dance and strike his iconic poses, and Michael O'Reilly does it perfectly. He is quite splendid at creating his fantasy figure, and the audience howls when he takes off his shirt or reveals his tush. In fact, all of the cast do a fine job but Kira Malou as Baby, Carlie Milner as Penny, and the others tend to be overshadowed by Johnny. Colin Charles brings terrific energy to the part of Tito and Thomas Sutcliffe has an absolutely stunning voice, but the audience is here to party. They sing along to the well-known lyrics and boo and cheer with pantomime enthusiasm. This is a triumphant and thoroughly delightful evening for the initiates, but even if you aren't yet one of them, given our present social and political reality you may enjoy a production that celebrates an uncomplicated world where love and music triumph!

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Mark Senior.

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