Writer: Eleanor Bergstein
Director: Sarah Tipple
Choreographer: Kate Champion
Reviewer: Francesca Parker
Brought to the stage by Karl Sydow and Joye Entertainment, the first ever UK tour of the cult classic, Dirty Dancing arrives at the Playhouse Edinburgh this Christmas. From the very beginning it has captured the heart of the audience with all the songs from the film, and many more.
Set in 1963, Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman (Jill Winternitz) and her family arrive at Kellerman’s for their summer vacation. Surrounded by young eligible Harvard and Yale students, both Baby and Marjorie (Julia Nagel) have more choice than they could have bargained for.
Dirty Dancing explores more than the world of dance and song; it captures the class divide and socio-political movements that occurred during the 60’s. It literally depicts Baby’s transition from an innocent and perhaps closeted teenager into a more experienced and well-rounded young woman; the coming of age musical is one that really resonates with all ages.
Giggles, screams and songs resonate from the audience who engage far more with this musical than any other before. The production even acquired something that it might well not have bargained for; a second chorus line. It was comprised by a predominantly female audience whose knowledge of the lyrics rivalled that of the cast.
Strong male performances come from Tito Suarez (Colin Charles) and Jonny Castle (Paul Michael-Jones). Their vocal and dancing talents respectively provide a solid foundation on which the rest of the performers could build. The charismatic portrayal of Lisa Houseman by Emilia Williams is absolutely hilarious and goes a long way to reinforce her dramatic abilities. Winterenitz’s rendition of Baby was more than convincing as there was much chemistry between the two leads.
With a creative use of set and props alongside spectacular costumes Dirty Dancing evoked a real sense of American in the 1960s. The only negative observation that could be made came from the occasionally dubious American accents that the characters employed. Although it may seem a fundamental part of the performance, the crowd are so engrossed by the action and spectacular that it detracted very little from the show. The musical accompaniment is provided by a combination of original recordings and from the live band that was situated on stage, both of which were perfect for the show.
Dirty Dancing is a triumphant, glamorous and heart-warming stage show which would brighten any dark winter’s night; you’ll have the time of your life.
Runs until 12th of January