The timeless classic, Dirty Dancing, hit the cinema screen once again celebrating the film’s 35th anniversary at Eventim Apollo on 19 May 2022. But this time, it returned with a powerful live band to give the audience ‘the time of their lives…’ Written by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Emile Ardolino, starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, the 1987 summer romance was brought to life by Lionsgate, TEG MJR, GEA Live and the producer of the stage musical version of the film, Karl Sydow.
The audience cheered as the concert performers took centre stage and started their rendition of ‘Be my Baby…’ while the opening credits played on the screen. Set in Catskills resort in the summer of 1963, the film portrays the summer romance of Baby Houseman (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny (Patrick Swayze). As Baby and her family set out to vacation at Catskills, she is intrigued by Johnny, a dance instructor at the resort.
Narrated from a woman’s lens, centring the female gaze, this cult film boldly explores themes of female desires and autonomy. It subtly throws light on the issues of classism, and unsafe and illegal abortion, proving to be a hit, being the first one to sell more than a million copies for home video. The brilliant soundtrack is credited to Jimmy Lenner generating two multiplatinum albums and multiple singles.
The lights that aesthetically framed the screen were used theatrically, timed aptly to match the mood of the scenes, purple and pink for romance, red for intense passion and action.
The orchestra played the background score highlighting action in the scenes while the four vocalists sang popular numbers from the movie. The music ensemble truly brought the film to life, making the transaction between the film and the audience highly interactive. The audience seemed to be transported to the 60s by the presence of live music.
Amalgamating the liveliness of a concert with the screening of the iconic dance drama was indeed a successful endeavour. The crowd swayed to the ‘time of my life…’ along with the dancers on the screen as the band raised the energy bar commencing the after-party to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the film. It is truly a wonder how classics surpass the test of time and continue to strike a chord within the old and the young.
Reviewer: Khushboo Shah
Reviewed: 19th May 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★