Dirty Dancing

Theatre Royal, Brighton, runs until Saturday, September 29

WITH every adaptation of a beloved film, it’s always intriguing to see how things play out on stage and whether your favourite moments are done justice.

Dirty Dancing has such a loyal fanbase that there’s already an excitable, ready-made audience for this production. The classic story translates effortlessly to stage, albeit it felt a little lacklustre and lacked originality that made the 1987 film so special.

The plot follows the film closely, telling the story of forbidden romance at a 1960s holiday resort between privileged teenager, Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman, and working-class dancer, Johnny Castle.

Kira Malou plays Baby with abundant goofy charm and uncanny mannerisms to Jennifer Grey who plays her in the film. Michael O’Reilly steps into Patrick Swayze’s enormous shoes as Johnny. Though he’s a colder reincarnation of the character, he has a real presence and wins the audience over with some serious dancing talent, attacking every move and gyrating like his life depends on it. The pair enjoy some decent chemistry, especially during those famous dance rehearsals.

The choreography is thrilling and performed with gusto by the enthusiastic cast. Penny, played by Simone Covele, steals the show with effortless flexibility and high kicks that draw your eye every time she’s on stage.

Costumes are fantastic, and all the songs are here, from Hey Baby to (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, but are performed by singers and a live band, making Dirty Dancing feel more like a play set to music rather than a fully-fledged musical.

The audience are generous with their cheers and applause throughout but almost lift the roof off the Theatre Royal when Baby and Johnny perform that iconic lift we’ve all been waiting for.

If you’re a fan of the film, this stage adaptation can’t fail to make you smile. Resistance is futile.

Gemma Hicks-Logan