Thursday, February 29

Dirty Dancing – Buxton Opera House

It’s been 21 months since I last had the pleasure of experiencing live theatre at the beautiful ‘theatre of the Peaks’ – Buxton Opera House.

It’s charm and beauty hasn’t faltered one bit in that lockdown time and a trip to Buxton’s famous opera house is just as special as before, if not more so now!

It helped no doubt by returning and seeing the ultimate feel-good Musical currently on tour, Dirty Dancing.

I think most of us will have seen the movie, (if not, what have you been doing in this lockdown) and if you like the movie; you’ll love this show. The energy, the music, the romance – it’s a theatrical whirlwind which makes for the perfect live show experience!

Any Movie purists can rejoice too as this stage adaptation stays very close to the film in terms of dialogue and scenes and is only tweaked slightly by writer Eleanor Bergstein to get the very most out of the story being told on the stage – it’s adapted seamlessly and is never clumsy or cumbersome like some film to stage adaptations I have seen, it’s slick and very easy to follow.

The cast are fabulous and make you feel like you’ve been transported right back to ‘Kellermans’ in the year 1963; Kira Malou plays Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman alongside Michael O’Reilly as Johnny Castle who both have fantastic chemistry on stage which grows as the story unfolds. Malou who is a very accomplished dancer in her own right plays the role very true to the original film while O’Reilly has to try and fill the boots of the amazing Patrick Swayze and he navigates that by playing his own version of Johnny; deeper and with more intrigue. O’Reilly has the character down to a tee though with a stellar performance which left many ladies in the audience swooning for him. The dance lessons performed together were faultless and not to give anything away; but their finale dance routine is nothing short of incredible!

The remaining cast all delight throughout including the talented Carlie Milner as Penny, Colin Charles as Singer Tito and Alex Wheeler and Sian Gentle-Green as Billy and Elizabeth who are really noteworthy in this cast.

You can tell this production has put a lot of effort in ensuring that the show is slick and forever grabbing the audience’s attention from the outset; The stage design by Roberto Comotti is simplistic with revolving scenes moving in and out uniquely setting the scene of a 60s Summer Camp which keeps the show moving quickly, the choreography by Austin Wilk is energetic and fast paced throughout while still preserving those famous moves from the film which everyone wants to see, and the score doesn’t tamper and change the memorable soundtrack of the movie with all the songs we know and love performed in the show, numbers like ‘Baby Do You Love Me’,  ‘Hungry Eyes’ and of course, no Dirty Dancing story would be complete without ‘(Ive Had) The Time of My Life’.

This latest theatrical production of Dirty Dancing is the perfect show to welcome you back to live theatre; it’s fun, it’s energetic and it’s dazzling from start to finish with a cast which will bring sheer delight to any Dirty Dancing fan’s face!

…Nobody puts theatre in the corner!

Dirty Dancing continues util Saturday 4th September 2021 at Buxton Opera House.

Reviewer: Max Eden

Reviewed: 31st August 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★