Dirty Dancing at The Churchill Theatre
Being a dancer and lifelong fan of Dirty dancing, I was expecting to adore the stage adaption of the classic. But Did I? well I certainly did. Walking into the Churchill Theatre in Bromley, myself and my best friend and fellow dancer, were excited to be transported to ‘Kallerman’s’ and to be wowed by the choreography and music we all love and know.
The show opened with the classic drum beats from ‘Be My Baby’ with Baby in front of the curtain opening the scene. There was 4 dancing couples, 2 downstage with Baby and 2 behind the curtain which became transparent copying the couple in front. ‘Elizabeth’ played by Sian Gentle-Geen gave a powerhouse vocal performance from start to finish. Her vocal range was incredible. When the curtain flew out, you were left with the hotel from ‘Kallerman’s’. Hats off to the set team led by Andrea Comotti, the set was lifelike and a good adaptation from what we know in the film. The costumes throughout were superbly done and kept as close to the film as possible.
As the dialogue began, immediately I could identify quotes and dialogue from the script of the film, I thought this to be very clever. Enough likeness to the film to keep the audience engaged but then again enough individuality to let the stage adaption be its own stand-alone credit. The live band on stage was a lovely touch to make the audience feel like they were there, they brought you into the scene perfectly.
‘Baby’ played by Kira Malou, has one of the best comic timings I have seen in theatre for a while. She portrays ‘Baby’ with endearment and humour. You can’t help but want her to do well. The water scene in particular was fantastically done.
You can’t say that ‘Jonny’ played by Micheal O’Reilly isn’t talented, as he undoubtedly is, but, towards the end of Act Two however, I found myself not drawn into his character as much as I was in Act One. I was left feeling like I wanted more. The ladies in the audience loved when he took his shirt off, and he has a physique which many of the men in the audience would be envious of.
I was most excited by the character of ‘Penny’, she was from a young age, my favourite. ‘Penny’ played by Simone Covele, was sassy, fierce, an incredible dancer, and everything you would expect from this character. I was however disappointed with ‘Hungry Eyes’. Not with Simone’s performance, but in the one scene I wanted to see the simplicity and subtle sexiness of the scene from the film. This was lost with the choreography during this number. I wanted to see the basic mambo step with penny, Jonny and Baby, without adding an additional prep leg and turns for which completely took me away from the magic I knew.
The ensemble parts and supporting roles equally played an important part in the stage adaptation, and each cast member was technically trained and gorgeous to watch. Lizzie Ottely who played Baby’s sister Lisa stood out, and I adored her Hula scene.
The Finale got the biggest applause, and a standing ovation, and rightly so. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” had the biggest reaction of the night. Jonny and Baby executed the iconic lift beautifully, and I for one know how hard that lift is to hold. So a big thumbs up!
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the stage adaptation and credit to the cast and crew for putting on a night where the magic of Dirty Dancing really did come true. I literally had ‘The Time of my life’.
Review by Steffie Croxson
Dirty Dancing is playing at the Churchill Theatre until the 2nd March. To find out more about Dirty Dancing and to buy tickets visit the Churchill Theatre’s website.