Tuesday, June 18

Dirty Dancing – The Alexandra, Birmingham

Originally performed in London in 2006 this show has toured numerous times. It’s a joy to see it back on the road once again.

The Houseman’s spend their vacation at Kellermans resort where everyone is shown a good time. Baby is entranced by the dancers Penny and Johnny and soon gets caught up in their world. This will be a summer she will never forget.

While the storyline may not be the most in depth it still manages to touch on peoples’ preconceptions, unwanted pregnancy, racism and growing up. Of course, the main theme is love and redemption.

Musically this is a blend of soundtrack and live music performed by the onstage band and company. Colin Charles (Tito Suarez) opens act 2 in style whipping the audience into an even higher state of excitement and Samuel Bailey (Billy Kostecki) hits the spot with ‘In the still of the night’.

Dirty Dancing isn’t a musical in the traditional sense, the songs don’t feel as though they add anything to the story. They are however a great excuse for some amazing dance routines that make you wonder how hips can move like that or how a leg can go so high.

The whole cast were flawless in the dance numbers, pouring energy into every step of the choreography by Austin Wilkes. Johnny and Penny’s routines showed off the dancing talents of Michael O’Reilly and Carlie Milner perfectly. Milner also shone as the troubled dancer with some touching moments. Anyone playing Johnny has some big shoes to fill, O’Reilly managed this by being enough of a nod to Swayze but also making the role his own. The other half of the romantic duo is Baby played by Kira Malou. She takes the character from awkward teen to mambo queen convincingly. Malou and O’Reilly work well together and recreate some famous film moments perfectly, with the dance practice in water cleverly staged. This production really is the classic story delivered on stage.

Most people of a certain age will have seen the film and have expectations. A lot of the audience knew exactly what was coming next with the anticipation building to that dance number, which is of course the highlight of the night. Even if you are totally new to the story you are certain to have a great night.

This show has everything you could wish for to brighten an autumn night, great tunes, stunning dancing, wonderful performances, romance, raunch and lots of hip wiggling – well it’s not called Dirty Dancing for nothing! The very appreciative audience ended the night on their feet cheering and dancing right to the end.

Dirty Dancing runs at The Alexandra Birmingham until 16th October 2021 https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/dirty-dancing-the-classic-story-on-stage/the-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/

Reviewer: Annette Nuttall

Reviewed: 12th October 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★