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16 Denman Street, London, W1D 7DY
Ended 8 Feb 2014 after 6 months
This pulsating, dynamically choreographed production offers something distinct and more intimate than the celluloid experience...
Nicholas De Jongh, Evening Standard
The 1987 movie is an untouchable musical classic, and has sealed the sadly departed Patrick Swayze's place in the cult movie canon. A massive box office success at the time, it has spawned numerous imitators, a belated sequel and "nobody puts Baby in the corner" branded merchandise for toddlers. Unsurprisingly, there were quite a few people queuing up for the musical adaptation, which premiered in Australia in 2004 before debuting at The Aldwych Theater two year laters. The show had an unprecedented £11 million in advance sales and went on to become the longest running show in the theatre's history. Yes, the power of the Swayze was still strong.
Adapted by the movie's original scribe Eleanor Bergstein, the stage show hewed closely to the plot of the movie, packing in all its anthemic anthems (I Had the Time of My Life, Hungry Eyes) and cheesy one-liners with aplomb. While not dreadfully successful with the critics (The Guardian called it "half-baked"), it delivered everything the audiences could have hoped for - lots of sexy dancing and rock 'n' roll. Taking on the unenviable task of replicating Swayze's charm (and hunky good looks) was Josef Brown (Neighbours) and Georgina Rich was the Baby to his Johnny.
17 year old Frances 'Baby' Houseman is on holiday with her family in the Catskill mountains in the summer of 1963, and bored out of her mind. That is until she encounters charismatic Johnny Castle, who teaches dance at the resort. When Johnny takes her back to the staff's after-hours secret party, she discovers a vibrant underworld of 'dirty dancing'. This rock 'n' roll music is totally at odds with the kind of music that Baby has so far experienced and certainly wouldn't meet with approval from her conservative parents. It's exciting and fresh, and she begins to fall for Johnny.
When Johnny's regular dance partner Penny has to pull out of the annual Sheldrake Dance competition, Baby steps in to help. The two embark on an intense period of practise to master the routine, during which the romance between the pair blossoms. However, it seems their relationship is not to be as Baby's father discovers their love affair and orders an immediate end to it. But Baby and Johnny must find a way...
While a remake to the original 1987 movie is still lingering in development hell, there was a belated sequel - Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. It was a critical and commercial flop but did contain a cameo from Patrick Swayze, for which he was paid a whopping $5 million.
Opening night: 13 July 2013
Closing night: 8 February 2014
Parental guidance is advised. The show features a limited amount of mild swearing and themes of a sexual nature. Everyone is required to have a ticket. Children under 5 years of age will not be admitted into the Picadilly Theatre.
Two hours 25 minutes with one 15 minute intermission
35 reviews, average rating: (3.1 Stars)
Absolutely fantastic show, loved every minute of it. My mum and I did not ... more
I watched the performance of Dirty Dancing at the Aldwych theatre on Ap... more
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