Review: Dirty Dancing @ Palace Theatre, Manchester

First published in Stage reviews Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , education reporter

IT’S the summer of 1963 — well you all know the rest.

Now it is time to get closer to this defining 1980s classic dance movie — and other than being on stage you couldn’t get any closer.

Dirty Dancing is on its first national tour, and to say it was well received by the mainly women audience, would be a huge understatement.

There were wolf whistles, cheers and a huge appreciation of Swayze’s character Jonny Castle every time he came on stage, with shouts of “get your shirt off!”

Paul Michael-Jones certainly had the moves and the strut of the bad-boy dancer.

Audience participation is very much a part of the dance spectacular, and is what makes, this production the success it is, together of course with the fabulous choreography.

The audience knew the lines of this well-told classic. They knew the songs and what is coming next to the extent people were shushed when Baby was about to utter the line “no-one puts baby in a corner”.

It’s based on the film through and through, and in parts it seems hurried as it tried to get in everything the movie has and more.

The production does give a deeper insight in the characters.

The scenes are far more comical than those in the film, especially Lisa’s hula songs — sometimes the comedy seemed to verge on the parody, but the audience laughed and loved it.

The cast modelled themselves convincingly on their film counterparts, particularly Charlotte Gooch, who plays Penny, and at times it could have been the Hollywood stars there on stage. Watch out for the waterlift scenes, superbly created with digital special effects.

Fans of the film will love this new take, complete with live music, which updates the hits running through the show.

This is a fun production in which Dirty Dancing lovers can at last be part of.

There was everything except dancing in the aisles!

* Until Saturday, January 7. Tickets are priced from £19.50 to £48.50. Premium tickets from £75. Ring ATG Tickets 0844 871 3019.


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