Dirty Dancing received a well-earned standing ovation as it began it’s month long run at Leeds Grand Theatre. Closely adapted from the fan favourite eponymous film, the stage show depicts protagonist, Francis ‘Baby’ Houseman and her romantic development with resort entertainer, Johnny Castle as they develop a tangible relationship whilst learning a dance routine but in turn, develop a sensual and romantic relationship with one another.
The show’s structure was meticulously clique, and unlike many popular musicals, the music assisted the impressive scene transitions instead of taking centre stage as the main form of communication to the audience. The live band performed original music which would perfectly fit in the summer of 1963. Whilst recognisable songs such as Hungry Eyes echoed throughout the auditorium, it posed the question as to whether or not the music would have been even more enjoyable if it were performed live rather than simply played back. Needless to say, (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life was performed impressively by the large ensemble and sparked an eclectic reaction to its eager and excitable audience members.
Dirty Dancing was a spectacle to behold to both prominent fans and newcomers to the phenomenon. Gareth Bailey masterfully crafted his own version of Johnny Castle which clearly whet his spectator’s appetite especially when he returned majestically onstage through the stalls during the climax. Whilst the set relied heavily on digital projection where it was sometimes difficult to deceiver the action on stage, the overall production was tidy and pleasant to watch. Some scenes were weaker in its delivery because of this, but the audience clearly forgave such small hindrances as they cheered and clapped along to an adaptation of a story that has, and clearly will continue to stand the test of time.
Dirty Dancing will be at Leeds Grand Theatre until Saturday 6th December.