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Dance your way to the live show
Dirty Dancing (Musical)
Member Name: abbadabbado
Dirty Dancing (Musical)
Disadvantages: I missed Johnny in the stalls
I was lucky enough to go and see Dirty Dancing at the weekend in the West End. It's a show I have been wanting to see for quite a while, but making the time and having the available money to see it has always been a factor.
The show is rated a PG, and we wondered if this was correct having seen the film, but there was no language and the only sexy scenes in the musical were done very tastefully so I would agree with the rating after watching the musical.
Having read good reviews about the show, I was excited to be outside the theatre waiting to go in, looking at the posters of some of the cast. I had heard that Johnny and Baby had been represented well in appearance to Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, and to be fair to the team, Baby was portrayed brilliantly with Johnny not being quite so well matched in features.
Inside the theatre I was surprised to find that one of the country's top selling musicals was placed in one of the smaller theatres I have been in. This was disguised by placing the seats very close together, but there was plenty of leg room in front of you.
Instantly you could tell that this show is directed to, and attracts many more women than men, as there were signs for the ladies toilets on each wall, but none for the men. We found out that these were placed near the bar, an obvious place for the men's facilities to be located, but it made me chuckle as soon as I noticed it.
** Stage **
The stage dominates the theatre as it should do to enable everyone to get a brilliant view. We were in restricted seats according to our tickets. Seated at the back and only just slightly off centre to the right, we could see everything except the orchestra, and a small corner of the right hand side stairs. This didn't restrict us in the slightest and we were very happy with the seats we had been given.
As we were sitting waiting for the show to start it gave us a good excuse to take in our surroundings. I loved the large glitter balls that were suspended from the ceiling, but I was glad I wasn't sitting directly underneath one of them as they were huge. We wondered how they would influence the lighting and scenery later in the show, but more on that later.
During the show we realised how well the stage was created to replicate the film in the best way it could. Stage props and effects are obviously superb with technology improving all the time, but there were some fantastic effects to the stage that made the show slightly more special. The cast somehow managed to run and dance around the stage, their footing never once placed on the wrong piece of the moving parts of the stage, and the props placed perfectly to be removed discreetly when needed. I was amazed on the moments when I was watching the stage effects.
The main things that impressed me on the stage was a large log that was lowered onto the centre which enabled Johnny and Baby to practice their lifts when they left the holiday camp, and also some background scenery that made it look like they were both in a field and also in the lake practising those all important lifts.
** Cast **
On the night we were at the theatre Baby was played by Hannah Vassallo, and Johnny was played by Martin Harvey. Nadia Coote as Penny and William Tapley as Dr Houseman.
I can't mention everyone, but they all played their role in a fantastic way which came together to gel with each other and make the show a fantastic performance to watch.
As trained dancers it must have been so difficult for Baby to dance badly in the beginning, and for them to be able to miss judge lifts and turns to create the story was amazing to watch.
Jessica Brooks as Lisa Houseman amazed me when she sang her song in the talent show. As Lisa sings very badly, it was a fantastic performance, and I think she deserves the badge of being the most true to film performance. I really would have thought it was the original Jane Brucker from the film if I hadn't known better.
Hannah Vassallo has very different facial features to Jennifer Grey, but the fact that you don't see the cast up close and personal means that with costume, hair and voice, you will be fooled into thinking she really is Jennifer for a while.
Martin Harvey doesn't resemble Patrick Swayze very much at all, but he has a god body and a great hair style to compensate for it.
Nadia Coote wowed me and most other people in the audience that night with her superb dancing moves. Her outfits were fantastic to suit her posture and pose. There were scenes that made me scream with jealousy when she was teaching Baby the mambo, and she was dressed in shorts and heels that made her legs look like they really were reaching her arm pits.
All the cast portrayed the characters brilliantly, and as the story progressed you were pulled into the holiday camp of Kellermans yourself and I truly believed that we were living back in 1963 with the film.
** Film to musical **
I was expecting parts to be missing from the film as obviously scenery restrictions and time limits will prevent the whole story being shown on stage. I have to say the musical was a very close match to the film. All the major songs were included which sent the audience wild as they appeared.
The producers and writers have managed to replicate the major scenes with background scenes being available on the same stage and the audience still managed to know what was going on.
There was a lot to keep your eyes on sometimes but despite this you could see for example Baby and Lisa in the background of the stage on their beds which acted as their room, whilst in the front of the stage there was a barrier lifted to portray two other characters having a conversation out on the green.
I was truly impressed at how it was choreographed and put together.
** Overall **
The musical lasts for around three hours with a small interval in between. The time went so quickly the time we were there. I have never laughed so much at scenes such as the compere geeing up the audience when we have to listen to the talent show auditions, and clapped so much when scenes ended.
I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, and dancing along with the songs. We had a great audience the night we went and nearly everyone seemed to be joining in on one way or another. I imagine this made the show even more special, but I can't see how anyone would go and watch the show if they weren't going to enjoy it.
The main piece I missed that I would have liked to have seen was where Johnny came back for the final dance and ran through the front stalls. Being so far back we couldn't see him until he jumped on the stage.
For me the whole show was fantastic, but the skin stood up on the back of my neck at the end when the whole stage was lit up by purple and silver glitter reflection bubbles. It was a magical moment and really worth every penny I paid to see the performance.
Summary: an amazing theatre experience
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