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REVIEW: Dirty Dancing at New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham

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“NOBODY puts Baby in the corner!” Those were the words that completely melted the female audience inside a warm Alex on Tuesday night as the 1987 Hollywood hit Dirty Dancing rolled into Birmingham. And the star of the show, as you’d expect, was of course Johnny Castle, played by late sub Robert Colvin – in for Lewis Griffiths – who completely schmoozed the women, including my fianc?e.

Like the film, the show was set at Catskill Mountains holiday resort in the summer of 1963, featuring Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman, played by the sweet and innocent Katie Eccles, and her family: Dr Jake Houseman (Julian Harries); Marjorie Houseman (Simone Craddock); and Lisa Houseman (Lizzie Ottley). The Housemans, an upper-class kind of family, were meant to be enjoying a quiet break away from it all and, much likes meant-to-be’s, it was anything but.

Johnny Castle and his dance partner, Penny Johnson (played by ballet star Carlie Milner), quickly set the pace with a riveting opening dance routine, Merengue. Throughout the production 60s and 70s classics boomed out, the likes of Love Man; Hungry Eyes and You Don’t Own Me, which took the audience back to the heyday of summer nights with friends in a world without mobile phones, the internet or Tinder! But Robert Colvin, outlined as Ensemble/Robbie in the programme, nailed it.

He put the ‘Sway’ into Patrick Swayze and was utterly outstanding. His character, Johnny Castle, was the coolest man on the planet – men were swaggering out of the auditorium while love-struck women were dreaming of jumping into bed with him!

A brilliant surprise was when Castle, during the final scene, burst through the audience in the stalls to jump on stage to finish the last dance. Then those six words came, much to the delight of the women… “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” The music played – Now I’ve… – and Castle soon thrusted little Baby into the air for the lift we all waited for, receiving a rapturous applause from those in the audience.

A thoroughly enjoyable show with some top-class performers.

Up and down in parts but, much like the lift, the finale was well worth the wait.

Dirty Dancing is on at the Alex until Saturday (June 3), for tickets click here[2].


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