The record-breaking national tour of Dirty Dancing is gracing the Venue Cymru stage until Saturday October 17th and is going to be a smash along the North Wales coast.
The show is not just about a love affair against the odds or that of an early 1960’s period piece. The reason why Dirty Dancing is still such a massive hit 28 years after the original film was made is because it has much to do about tackling head on issues of class, family, loyalty, and right and wrong.
Dirty Dancing tells the story of Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jessie Hart) who takes a vacation with her family at Kellerman’s, a family friendly resort in the Catskill Mountains. The younger of two daughters, Baby is planning to attend Mount Holyoke College to study the economics of underdeveloped countries and then enter the Peace Corps.
During her stay, Baby meets and develops a crush on the resort’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle, played on stage by Lewis Kirk, who is also the leader of the resort’s working-class entertainment staff. While walking around on the resort grounds, Baby encounters Johnny’s kind hearted cousin Billy and helps him carry watermelons to the staff quarters. There, she observes their secret after-hours party and the “dirty dancing” involved.
Later, Baby discovers that Johnny’s regular dance partner, Penny Johnson (Carlie Milner), is pregnant by Robbie Gould, a womanizing waiter who is dating and cheating on Baby’s older sister, Lisa (Georgina Castle). In her efforts to help, Baby becomes Penny’s substitute dancer for an important performance at the Sheldrake, a nearby resort where Johnny and Penny perform annually. As Johnny teaches Baby to dance, a romance begins to develop. Their performance at the Sheldrake goes reasonably well, though Baby is too nervous to accomplish the dance’s climactic lift.
At the final talent show of the season Johnny makes a brief speech about how “Frances” has made him a better man, he and Baby impress the audience with a dance performance to the song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”, which ends with Baby doing the lift successfully for the first time to a massive cheer from the audience.
After the dance, Jake apologizes to Johnny and admits that he was wrong to assume Johnny had gotten Penny “in trouble”, and he praises Baby for her dancing.
A standing ovation at the end of the show showed just how much the audience enjoyed the show and their appreciation for the cast to put on such a wonderful performance.
Jessie Hart’s portrayal of the Iconic ‘Baby’ on the show is top draw from her acting to her dancing. Being able to dance badly at times during the show isn’t as easy as it looks sometimes! With this she brings humour to her character that also shows a caring and loving side to her.
Lewis Kirk plays the famous role played by the late Patrick Swayze of Johnny Castle. A hit with the ladies both in the show and in the audience Lewis gained a great fan base at the theatre with the ladies especially when he removes his shirt in one scene.
Lewis produced the loudest cheers of the evening when he said one of the famous lines from the show ‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner’.
Carlie Milner plays Penny and her performance on the evening could have passed as being the original Penny from the film. A fantastic actress and also a talented dancer Carlie showed wonderful chemistry with the other actors especially Jessie and Lewis during the show.
Orchestra for the show are situated at the back of the stage elevated so that they are classed as being on a balcony and being part of the show. Producing hits from the film including ‘(I’ve had) The Time Of My Life’, ‘Hungry Eyes’ and ‘She’s Like The Wind’ they help pull the production together along with the first class set and lighting.
Overall Dirty Dancing is just as good as the film from 1987 and that is down to the fantastic team which has been brought together from the cast to the production team.
Dirty Dancing continues at Venue Cymru, Llandudno until next Saturday (17th October) and tickets are selling fast so book now either via the box office, phoning 01492 872000 or at http://www.venuecymru.co.uk.