You know that mantra; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Which is exactly why the opening night of Dirty Dancing at the Sunderland Empire received a roaring applause from crowds. Following the script of the movie, which smashed box offices in 1987, the theatre production followed the film down to the oversized watermelons, the classic soundtrack and the iconic dance moves.
I thought Katie Eccles played dainty Frances Houserman, also known as Baby, perfectly with her girl-next-door charm and cute clumsy appeal. But the main attraction was definitely Lewis Griffiths, who played the one and only Johnny Castle, originally played by Patrick Swayze.
With those hip-busting moves and chiseled abs, he certainly turned up the heat. In fact, Mr Griffiths had his own fan base that kept wolf-whistling every time that shirt came off, and when his pants came down, well I could feel the breeze from the women around me fanning themselves.
Throughout the production I was in total awe of Carlie Milner who played knocked-up dancer, Penny Johnson. From her high kicks to splits, and all those flips and lifts, I was just blown away by her dancing skills, not to mention, her incredible legs (which were longer than my entire body!)
I thoroughly enjoyed this show, but I mean what’s not to love? Girl meets boy, boy meets girl, they fall in love and boy has to prove to her overprotective father than that he’s worthy, and inbetween there’s singing, drama, passion and a whole load of dancing. A truly spectacular production.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Dirty Dancing at the Empire, but it was the best time. I feel like the production has grown as the props and graphics has improved greatly. You can clearly see this when Baby and Johnny venture to the forest and back to the Kellerman’s Holiday Park.
And both the vocalists and dancers were incredible. You’ve really got to appreciate the skill and talent this bunch of performers have. Completely mesmerising and they got everyone in the crowd singing along and tapping their feet.
Then it came to it, the moment everyone had been waiting for. The lift, and it didn’t disappoint. When Johnny dipped to lift Baby up, you could hear everyone everyone in the audience inhale and then let out a huge roar of applause. What a brilliant way to close the show. I left the Empire ready to get on my dancing shoes, and let me tell you, from the way everyone was moving I wasn’t the only one that wanted to recreate those moves.
Whether you’re a fan of the film, love a sing-a-along, or a good dance, I would highly recommend a visit to Dirty Dancing at the Sunderland Empire, which is on until Saturday 1st July. Ticket information is available online at www.atgtickets.com
Sarah Jayne x
I received complimentary tickets in exchange for a review. My review is my honest opinion and 100% my own words.