Dirty Dancing has made a return to Manchester treating fans to a four week run at the Palace Theatre before it heads to London’s West End replacing the ailing Spice Girl’s musical Viva Forever.
Loved by women (and men…admit it guys you kinda like it too) Dirty Dancing has been a cult classic since it hit our cinema screens back in 1987 and now it’s shimmying successfully on the big stage.
It’s been a year since the tour was last in our city and during that time the show has become slicker with an added injection of energy that takes it to another level.
Back in the role of ‘dance instructor come sex god’ Johnny Castle is Rochdale born Paul-Michael Jones. Playing the part made famous by Patrick Swayze is a hard act for anyone to follow but Jones proves he is more than capable of stepping up to the challenge and had women’s pulses racing with his steamy dance moves.
Jill Winternitz dons the permed bob as Baby and brings out the humorous side of the love struck teen giving a real freshness to the role most die-hard fans know off by heart.
The supporting cast produce some stand out performances especially Stefan Menaul who really captures the geeky quality of Neil Kellerman who tries and fails to win Baby’s heart. Emilia Williams shines as Lisa Houseman as she treats the audience to a hysterical and tone-deaf version of ‘Hula’ which has them in fits of laughter.
A nice touch is Stephen Brimson Lewis’ set design which features LED sliding screens with backdrops of the Kellermans and the Sheldrake on them-producing a cinematic feel and giving a nod to the original movie.
Although the main focus is on the stunning dance moves there are some fabulous vocals too as the soundtrack to the original film accompanies the action onstage. Singers Wayne Smith and Lizzie Stavrou belting out a goosebump inducing version of In the Still of the Night and Yes!
Of course it’s the finale that the audience is really looking forward to and there’s a real sense of anticipation in the air and breaths being held as Johnny interrupts the last song to utter those famouswords ‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner’- cue whoops and hollers galore.
The frenzy continues from then on it-the famous ‘lift’ producing a raucous cheer that almost had the Palace Theatre roof off and everyone standing on their feet for the curtain call.
Did this show give audiences the ‘Time of their Lives’ – you betcha!
Dirty Dancing runs at The Palace Theatre, Manchester till June 15th
Box Office 0844 871 3019