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Dirty Dancing (Musical)
Member Name: whiskmite
Dirty Dancing (Musical)
Advantages: Fab night out
Disadvantages: None I can think of
First, I should say that there are some spoilers in the review, so if you're determined not to find out what happens in Dirty Dancing, don't read on!
When I was growing up, Dirty Dancing was one of my absolute favourite films. It still is, in fact. It sounds (and is) incredibly cheesy but that film meant such a lot to me! It had the romance covered, it had good-looking actors (and Swayze WAS good looking back in the day!) and it felt quite meaningful at the time - looking at society in terms of class issues, abortion, and the way the world was changing in America in the 60s, with the aftermath of the Vietnam war and holidays to Europe becoming more popular. It has a real nostalgic feel about it and you'd have to have a heart of stone not to raise a smile at the end when Baby gets the lifts right!
A brief synopsis of the story: The Housman family (Dad, who is a doctor, and Baby's hero, Mum, Lisa and Frances (known as Baby)) go on holiday to a family resort in North Carolina. Lisa soon sets her sights on their waiter, Robbie, who is studying medicine. Baby however, soon discovers the world of the dancers at the resort, and finds out one of the dancers, Penny, is pregnant with Robbie's child. Robbie refuses to have anything to do with her or it, and she has no choice but to seek an illegal abortion with money Baby lends her. As the abortion can only be scheduled for one particular day, the day Penny and Johnny dance at another hotel, Baby has to learn to dance to stand in for Penny and develops a relationship with Johnny. When Penny's abortion goes wrong Baby fetches her father to help her. When Johnny takes responsibility for Penny, Dr Housman refuses to allow Baby to have anything further to do with Johnny, but Baby and Johnny's relationship continues. Johnny is accused of stealing by a jealous ex-lover and Baby comes to his defence to stop his boss from firing him by telling the truth - she spent the night with him. He is fired anyway for sleeping with a guest and Baby's family refuse to speak to her. On the last night of the season there is a concert where Robbie accidentally admits he was the one who get Penny in trouble, and Johnny comes back to dance with Baby. And they all live happily every after (sob!). Ok, that last sentence isn't part of the film, but that's how it makes me feel!
In fact, I don't know that many girls my age who don't share similar feelings for Dirty Dancing. So, when the musical came out, I knew I'd have to see it! It took me a while to organise (almost two years!) but finally, the other week, I got my act together and booked tickets for me and four female friends.
I booked with lastminute.com, getting our tickets for £33 each, with an offer of a dinner deal beforehand - £8 for a pizza and a glass of prosecco at Fire & Stone before the show.
When we got to the theatre I had to show my reference to pick our tickets, a process which was incredibly easy and very fast given the massive queue - the cashiers really were working very quickly! We were sat up at the top so we had a fair few stairs to climb, but we ended up with very good seats - slightly to one side, but with fantastic views. I was a little worried as we paid for 'fourth tier' seats so I had thought that our seats may not be amazing, but I was very pleasantly surprised! The toilets were also conveniently near too!
Because I was so familiar with the film (and loved it so much), I was worried I'd pick it apart in my head if they got any bits wrong, but although they did change some bits (some music that they probably couldn't get rights to etc) they were actually really faithful to the movie. The smaller bits they did change, like the music, they tried to keep the same mood as the film, but they also added in extra bits about the peace march and the civil rights movement, which I liked because it added even more depth and gave us more of an insight into the time in which the story was set. They also added in some singing which was fine - it didn't blow my mind but it certainly didn't put me off.
The actors were very good - the looked very similar to the movie actors which was probably done on purpose, as you are used to seeing Johnny/Baby etc look a certain way. The dancing is very very good. The guy that plays Johnny and the girl that plays Penny particularly so.
Again, I know I am biased as I love the movie so much, but I felt that the show got the emotion exactly right. I felt sad with the injustice of it all when Johnny tells Baby about his dream - that they meet Baby's father on a walk, and he put his arm around him, "just like he does with Robbie" - Robbie is Lisa's (Baby's sister) unworthy boyfriend, and while we're on the subject of him, I practically hissed every time he was on stage, and the relief when Baby's father tears his cheque up and realises (at last!) that it is Robbie who is the slimeball, not Johnny! The show did really well at making you feel for all of the characters, and the funny lines were just as funny as they should be.
It was a fairly long show - it started at 7.30 and didn't finish til almost 11 o'clock, but personally I feel that I got my money's worth for my £33 and would definitely recommend it to any fans of Dirty Dancing (the movie) and any fans of romantic movies in general. Honestly, there weren't a lot of men in the audience, a fact that didn't surprise me at all (the face my boyfriend pulled when I asked him if he'd mind not coming as it was a girls' night was exactly the same face I pull when he tells me he's found someone else to sit in the pub and watch the football with!) but my brother loved Dirty Dancing and used to watch it with me and I know he'd really like to see it so I suppose it really depends on your personal taste!
On the whole a great night out for you and your girlfriends that will leave you feeling slightly better about the world!
Summary: Highly recommended!
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