DIRTY DANCING review LEEDS GRAND 2017

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dirty dancing review leeds grand 2017 cast

Dirty Dancing

Review – July 2017

Leeds Grand Theatre

by Daniel Roach

Leeds Grand Theatre travels back to the summer of ’63 – and the audience has the time of their lives.

Mention Dirty Dancing and immediately you think of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray and the intense, romantic scenes from the classic 80’s movie. The stage show sticks tightly to the film’s screenplay, offering most things the movie offers, with added comedy thrown in to liven the performance.

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The Houseman family take a well earned vacation in the summer of ’63 at Kellermans Hotel at the Catskill Mountains Resort. The Kellermans have the opportunity to take part in a host of activities such as singing and dancing. Baby (Katie Eccles) stumbles upon an after-party and offers to stand in as a dancer in a show at another resort with Jonny Castle (Lewis Griffiths). Here is the start of their summer romance. A middle class girl and a working class lad brought together through dance.

“Dancing is immaculate”

Katie Eccles plays Baby with great panache. Her initial lack of dancing skills alongside some very comical facial expressions have the audience chuckling away throughout the show. Baby and Jonny work perfectly together. And without giving too much away, some steamy scenes between the pair have the audience looking on with ‘Hungry Eyes’!

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The staging changes smoothly between scenes, but I’m disappointed with the iconic water scene with Baby and Jonny. Although funny, the set is a simple screen with very little technical imagination. In fact, it almost looks cheap. It’s a solitary aberration in an otherwise slick show – but in such a pivotal scene it stands out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Thankfully, however, the big finale is not a disappointment. The legendary songs, leading up to the ‘big moment’ such as ‘She’s Like the Wind’ build into the final show stopper. The dancing is immaculate and that lift is executed to perfection. The audience are truly involved and don’t want it to end.

Dirty Dancing is a creative production that stays true to the heart and soul of the classic film and its iconic soundtrack. Theatre goers are guaranteed to enjoy a night of nostalgia and fun.

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