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Directed by Federico Bellone
Choreography - Austin Wilks
Review by David Bithell - A View To A Kiln/Radio Kiln
There's something magical about experiencing the timeless love story of Dirty Dancing, reimagined on stage as a musical. Currently on stage at Hanley's Regent Theatre, this production truly ignites the stage and leaves audiences captivated from start to finish. Packed with nostalgia, unforgettable tunes from the original motion picture. It also has remarkable choreography, Dirty Dancing, The Musical delivers an electrifying performance that successfully revives the beloved story for both die-hard fans and newcomers alike.
From the moment the curtain rises, the audience is transported to the summer of 1963, where dance instructor Johnny Castle and innocent teenager Frances "Baby" Houseman meet against the backdrop of a Kellermans resort. Featuring a myriad of memorable scenes from the iconic film, the production remains faithful to the essence of its source material while cleverly incorporating new elements to make it shine on stage.
The standout aspect of Dirty Dancing, The Musical is undoubtedly the remarkable choreography. Every dance number feels meticulously crafted, seamlessly blending nostalgia with fresh interpretations. From the steamy mambo sequences to the iconic lift that has become synonymous with the film, the ensemble flawlessly executes the intricate moves, exuding energy and passion that leave the audience breathless.
The lead performances are equally commendable. The chemistry between Johnny, portrayed by Michael O'Reilly and dynamic performer, and Baby, portrayed by Kira Malou who captures her character's transformation with grace, is palpable. Their connection intensifies through their shared love of dance, making their emotional journey from initial awkwardness to the passionate climax of the story all the more believable and compelling.
The show also deserves praise for its strong supporting cast, whose vibrant personalities bring the resort environment to life. From the sassy and glamorous Penny Johnson(Georgia Aspinall) to the loveable and comical duo of Baby's parents, Jack Loy and Taryn Sudding. Their characters are portrayed with authenticity and depth, adding flavor and charm to the overall performance.
I particular enjoyed the role of Tito played by Colin Charles, proving not to be a one trick pony, he delivered his lines with super timing, and a powerful, punchy singing voice. He was the standout performance of the night.
The musical numbers that made the film so beloved are seamlessly incorporated into the stage adaptation. Classics like "Hungry Eyes," "She's Like the Wind," and, of course, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," emerge through powerful vocals and exceptional musical arrangements, serving as a perfect soundtrack that keeps the audience engaged throughout the show.
Though the production maintains the core elements that made Dirty Dancing a cultural phenomenon, it also infuses a fresh energy that allows it to establish an identity of its own. The set design, which effortlessly transitions between different locations, showcases attention to detail and contributes to the immersion of the audience in each scene.
In conclusion, Dirty Dancing, The Musical at the Regent Theatre in Hanley is a must-see production that flawlessly captures the essence of the beloved story. With its captivating choreography, talented cast, and unforgettable musical numbers, it offers an electrifying experience that will transport you to a nostalgic world of love, dance, and self-discovery. So, grab your dancing shoes and be prepared to have the time of your life!
Dirty Dancing, the classic story on stage is at The Regent Theatre until Saturday 8th July. For tickets go to https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/dirty-dancing/regent-theatre/ , or by calling the box office on 0844 8717627.