Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Dirty Dancing on stage- Millennium Centre, Cardiff

"That was the summer of 1963 -  when everybody called me Baby, and it didn't occur to me to mind. That was before President Kennedy was shot, before the Beatles came, when I couldn't wait to join the Peace Corps, and I thought I'd never find a guy as great as my dad. That was the summer we went to Kellerman's."

So, up there with making your favourite book into a film is putting your favourite film on stage.

What can't I tell you about Dirty Dancing?
In my mind I can't remember when it was, but I remember the detail. I was at my cousins house and we watched Dirty Dancing on video. I nagged and pandered to my mum until I was allowed to use my Christmas money to buy my own copy. How excited was I? I recall it being a 12 or 15 rating and I was allowed it.
Looking back now, Dirty Dancing was released in 1987. So, I'm sort of thinking my mum loved the film as much as me and she was grateful I footed the bill rather than her.

So, after a week of rain in Cardiff, last night we got to enjoy some of the American summer with Dirty Dancing at the theatre.

What can I say? Yes, we definitely fitted in as many puns about 'having the time of your life'. And it was lovely to watch it on stage with the lovely Leigh, who is the only person I know who loves the film more than me.

It was fantastic to hear my favourite lines on stage:
"Me? I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw, I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you."

And the fantastic audience, from the response to Lisa's Hula, to "Nobody puts Baby in the corner", to the opening bars of "(I've had) The Time of My Life".

I have to admit, I was caught off guard to the themes which have been added to the theatre production. I didn't realise I was such a purist! The approach gives more focus to the time in which Dirty Dancing was set, references to American civil rights movement are more heavily referenced and, without really appreciating, over 40 percent of the material is new.

Nothing stood in the way of a hugely enjoyable experience. The predominance of live music, the presence of the portable record player, my favourite soundtrack on stage.

I was impressed by how well the film transferred to stage. I can never fail but to be impressed as to how well theatre keeps up with technology, and how well ideas can be interpreted on stage through lighting and effects, I am kept in awe as I recall my favourite term from "my day" was 'moving gobo'... and now the changing scenes, the changing landscape is flawless in front of an audience wanting so much to be a part of this production.


Dirty Dancing is on its first national tour. If you love the film I would definitely get tickets, I wasn't disappointed, I'm off to get the soundtrack onto my mp3 ready for my next train journey.

Disclosure: We left it rather late to get tickets and ended up purchasing tickets in the gods. Even this didn't stop it being a completely amazing theatre experience.

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