“Nobody puts Baby in the corner!”
Say it to pretty much anyone and they’ll probably know exactly what you’re talking about. For me, it’s an iconic phrase from my “go to” chick flick movie. Patrick Swayze, a hip swaying soundtrack, and of course the dancing, combine for the ultimate in feel good romantic movies.
So I was a little cautious in my hopes for going to see the adapted stage play. Would it live up to my adolescent (and adult!) favourite film? Dirty Dancing on Tour has come to the Regent Theatre, and I took my daughter to experience her very first stage show.
The venue itself was the first pleasant surprise. Far from the small town experience I was half expecting, having only experienced venues in very large cities previously, the Regent Theatre is a classy affair. Helpful staff, beautiful decor and clear, practical seating instructions. An issue with seating was sorted promptly & sensitively, and we waited for the lights to dim.
From the first bars of the opening song my daughter was captivated, and I wasn’t far behind. The music I loved was all there, the oh so familiar scenes, only the faces had changed. At first it jarred a little, that sentence isn’t supposed to be said like that, that accent isn’t quite right, then slowly but surely the magic pulled me in, and by the time Baby was pulled out of her corner I was completely immersed and whooping involuntarily along with the rest of the audience. The lift brought me out in goosebumps, and the happy ending handshake tested my mascara (though I denied it to my rolling eyed teen – shhh!)
Without question every single actor & dancer are supremely talented, and the main roles of Johnny & Baby are cast superbly. Baby’s transition from awkwardness to sexy strutter is portrayed brilliantly by Katie Hartland, and Lewis Griffiths captures Johnny’s swagger & poise to a tee. Michael Kent’s vocals as Billy Kostecki made even my acapella obsessed daughter sit up & take notice, especially an incredible falsetto which brought immediate appreciation from the audience, and Carlie Milner’s portrayal of Penny was so true to the movie version it was sometimes hard to remember she was a different actor, and her incredible dancing added to the illusion.
Whether you’re a die hard fan or a Dirty Dancing virgin, the show is a spectacular visual and musical performance that will keep you enthralled to the very last bow. You’ll definitely never be sorry.