Dirty Dancing The Classic Story On Stage - Aylesbury Waterside Theatre - ATG Tickets (beta.atgtickets.com)
Do you remember the first time you fell in love?  The intensity of emotions and excitement that
threatens to overwhelm you as your life is changed forever?   That poignant
time in someone’s life when you’re on the verge of adult hood and you’re making
decisions that your parents wouldn’t approve of? Dirty Dancing takes us right back to our teenage years, when 17
year old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman goes on holiday with her
parents and sister and meets seemingly bad boy dance instructor Johnny Castle and they fall in love.

The screenplay and stage show were written by Eleanor
Bergstein and the story is based on her own childhood.  Perhaps that’s why it has been so successful,
as the truthfulness of each character resonates with us all.  Set in 1963, it was a time of political change
with undercurrents of Martin Luther King, JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis all playing
a prominent role behind the joy of escaping to a holiday village.

After struggling to develop the film with MGM, a small
independent company, Vestron Pictures,
made the film which was released in 1987 and went on to make $214millon that
year.  It propelled Patrick Swayze and
Jennifer Grey to global stardom.  The
iconic song I’ve Had the Time of My life
won the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and that
incredible dance routine with ‘the lift’ is
still one of the most attempted dances at weddings, probably resulting in quite
a few back injuries!

When I saw the stage show a few years ago, it was very hard
not to think of Patrick Swayze playing Johnny,
as the actor was quite slender and although a brilliant dancer, he hadn’t quite
filled the shoes of Patrick.  Not so with
Michael O’Reilly, who plays Johnny in this current theatre tour and makes the
role completely his own.  He has huge
stage presence and physically he’s tall, very muscular with slim hips, dark
hair with a quiff and he IS Johnny.  The opening dance routine with Simone Covele
(Penny Johnson) is sensual and exciting
and with long legs that move into impossible positions, Simone is captivating.

Kira Malou is great as Baby,
playing the comedy of not being able to dance really well, which isn’t easy
when she’s clearly a very talented dancer. 
The sweetness of her character who wants to do the right thing for Penny when she finds herself ‘knocked up’ is perfectly played and Johnny finds himself drawn into falling
for her as well as we do.

The cast are all superb throughout Colin Charles, Lynden
Edwards, Mark Faith, Greg Fossard, Sian Gentle-Green, Lori Hayley Fox, Jack
McKenzie, Lizzie Ottley and Alex Wheeler as are the band, who have their moment
to shine at the end.

Gillian Bruce has done an incredible job as Choreographer emulating
the dance routines from the film, with a Latin feel, making them so sexy with
the dancers moving together as one. 
Directed by Federico Bellone, with set design by Roberto Comotti and
costume by Jennifer Irwin, all bring the period and setting to life and we’re
transported into their world.

I absolutely loved the show, it’s exciting, sexy, colourful
and authentic and I’m sure that the scene before the interval with Johnny and Baby getting it on will send sales of ice-cream rocketing! You
really will have the time of your life!

Further information and tour dates: https://dirtydancingontour.com

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye