Review: Dirty Dancing at the Mayflower
Surely everyone’s seen Dirty Dancing? The film version from 1987 is a cult classic, earning over $200 million worldwide. If you’re a fan of the original, have never seen it […]
Surely everyone’s seen Dirty Dancing? The film version from 1987 is a cult classic, earning over $200 million worldwide. If you’re a fan of the original, have never seen it or don’t think it’s your cup of tea – trust me the stage version is brilliant!
For those of you in the dark, the basic plot centres on 17 year old Francis Houseman (nicknamed Baby) and her adventures during a family holiday in the summer of 1963. As one of the wealthy guests she isn’t supposed to mingle with the entertainment staff, but (naturally) she wanders away from the planned events and discovers the hotel dance staff having an impromptu party. Thrilled by the raunchy dance moves and smitten by the good looking dance instructor, Johnny Castle (yes it is yet another variation on the classic Romeo-Juliet theme of forbidden love – go with it), she sets off on one hell of a learning curve: finding out a thing or two about dance routines, tough life lessons and love.
On stage the cast were amazing: Emily Holt (Francis, aka Baby) and Paul-Michael Jones (Johnny) were fantastic leads and their supporting cast was faultless. I recommend you also keep an eye out for Charlotte Gooch as Penny, Johnny’s professional dance partner, (a woman with impossibly long legs!). Her routines were by far the most impressive and effortless looking.
Director Sarah Tipple has created a show that seamlessly mixes comic moments (Baby’s sister Lisa singing a hula themed song very, very badly is comedy gold) with serious references to 1960’s American politics and some of the best dance moves I’ve ever seen. The set was brilliantly simplistic with very few props (the main one being a portable record player), yet somehow transported characters through a variety of different areas of inside and outside spaces. The dancers showed off their routines and simply gorgeous costumes to classic dance music, soul music and of course the cult classic 80’s hits such as ‘Hungry Eyes’ and the fantastic ‘I’ve had the time of my life’.
If you enjoy it half as much as the crowd I was sat with then you’ll sing along, laugh out loud and maybe even have an emotional moment or two (the woman sat next to me actually cried a bit at the end). But be warned: after watching this performance your confidence in your own dance ability will disappear completely and no longer will standing about in Jesters waving an arm or two about seem enough. You will crave the ability to be able to dance properly, preferably with other people who can also dance well and, girls; you will want a wardrobe filled with 60’s style dresses.
Tickets are available until the 28th so if you fancy it, book soon to avoid disappointment.
This is my second year of living in Southampton and I cannot believe I never made it to The Mayflower until now! The theatre is a brilliant venue and it shows theatre productions straight off the West End, I for one am definitely going to keep an eye on their upcoming shows.