On the 19th of March I had the pleasure of going to watch Dirty Dancing live on stage at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Dirty Dancing is set in the summer of 1963 and follows Baby (played by Roseanna Frascona) who adores her father (James Coombes) and wants to eventually join President Kennedy’s Peace Corps. Whilst on holiday with her family at Kellermans meets Johnny Castle (Gareth Bailey) a dance instructor. Instantly she’s attracted, however she annoys him but when Baby takes a risk to help out one of his friends Penny (Claire Rogers) a powerful and sexy romance begins.
First thoughts: What an amazing show! I came out of the theatre with my mind racing from the brilliance of it all. All I wanted to do was talk about everything I loved about the show.
The set: The set was designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis and I must say the way the set was presented on stage was great. I loved how everything was set up, and how the scenes transitioned. The set was simplistic so you didn’t have trouble deciding where to look but it also gave the feel of a busy holiday resort. I loved the projections of scenes at the back to help pull you into the scene and help you visualise it better. I particularly liked the use of the projections when Baby and Johnny were practicing the oh-so-famous lift. With the projections it made it look like they were in a forest, in a field full of grass and in water.
Dancing: With Dirty Dancing being a musical about dancing I obviously expected the dancing to be immense and I was not let down. It was incredible, I was mesmerised the whole time they were dancing – and considering that the musical consists mostly of dancing, that was a long time! All the dancers were in sync when they needed to be and the dances just flowed. You could really tell that the actors loved what they were doing – like dancing was just second nature to them.
Acting: One thing that really stuck with me about the show was Roseanna Frasconas acting – she’s a dancer, pretending to be a girl who doesn’t really know how to dance. I can only begin to imagine how hard that must have been. When I know how to do something I want to show it off!
The other actors were remarkable as well. Each and every one of them stayed in character the whole way though whether they had any lines or not. Also hats off to Claire Rogers who sure knows how to dance! I really liked watching the background characters during the show because they just seemed to add to the story even though they weren’t directly involved in Baby and Johnny’s romance.
Lighting: I don’t really have much to say on the lighting except that it was used perfectly. I loved the use of the Disco Balls during (I’ve Had) the Time of My Life and the way they used spotlights during some of the busier scenes – it really helped you know where you were supposed to be focusing.
Overall: Dirty Dancing was sexy, fascinating and wildly amusing. Fans of the film will not be let down, and will probably fall in love with it more! I would recommend everyone to go watch it, it truly is amazing. If I had the chance I would see it again in a heartbeat. Have you guessed, I loved it!
Oh, and just remember “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!”