Thursday, 14 February 2013

Dirty Dancing At Nottingham Theatre Royal REVIEW

Photo by Alastair Muir
Here in town on its very first national tour, you've got the next three whole weeks to sneak away from your parents, get on down to the basement with the cool kids (you know what you need to carry with you) and get your Dirty Dancing freak on like it's the summer of 1963.

Despite its bubblegum-pink logo and copious merchandise, this show is in fact no trite, flashy lesser version of the legendary film, but a genuine re-imagining by the original screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein who 'didn't want to just slap a movie onstage', a notion clearly evident in the show's surprisingly artistic and intelligent staging. Refreshing touches include the dancers performing individually rather than the traditional musical ensemble unison (nothing wrong with unison but individualism makes a nice change) a great feeling of energy, verve and choreographed movement in the choppy short scenes and a revolving centre in the stage used imaginatively to great effect together with breathtakingly beautiful outdoor landscapes capturing the infamous log and water scenes and a clever dance training week montage, all evidently put together with thoughtful loving care to create a successfully profound on-stage interpretation.

But fans of the original film will also have all their Dirty and Dancing boxes ticked, flicked and kicked. Jill Winternitz is a charmingly earnest and outspoken Baby, artfully avoiding drippy ingenue territory and instead fun, funny and feisty, whilst Paul-Michael Jones is a long, lean, leggy, leather jacket-clad Johnny and you have just gotta see that bad boy DANCE, commanding the stage with his height and assured expert poise, tearing the place down with Nicky Griffiths as ow-chihuahua hot mama mind-bendingly bendy splits-kicking Penny and then leaping back onto stage from the stalls to deliver the legendary 'Baby' and 'corner' line to ecstatic whoops from the audience followed by a wowzer 360 degree, effortless, spectacular version of THAT iconic lift.

Cool, slick, classic and cute, a genuine theatrical triumph, both in addition to the film and as a stand-alone experience, confidentially we recommend you mambo, merengue and hotfoot it along to grab those last few tickets to this show, yeah baby!

Dirty Dancing is at Nottingham Theatre until Saturday March 2nd. Limited seats are available, more details available on the Theatre Royal website here

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