REVIEW: Dirty Dancing at The Alexandra Birmingham

Dirty Dancing is one of the most iconic movies of the 80s. Synonymous with sleepovers and girly nights in, this super-sexy show has been given the stage treatment, and it’s an utter joy to behold.

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Starring the late, great Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, Dirty Dancing has accumulated quite the following since its release in 1987, earning its place as one of the greatest chick flicks.

Making the decision to switch something so iconic from stage to screen can often be a bold and dangerous move. But this is one that’s paid off – and then some.

The show immerses you into Kellermans, the luxury holiday camp where leading lady Baby Houseman (Kira Malou) and her family are spending three weeks of the summer holidays.

Baby is a Daddy’s girl, whose rich upbringing has laid out a luxury life for her, which her father believes will help her to change the world for the better. But when Baby (Kira Malou) meets Johnny Castle (Michael O’Reilly), she realises she wants to make a life of her own, a world away from her parents’ plans.

During their holiday, Baby breaks away from her family, where she begins lying to her father for money to help pay for an illegal abortion, falls head over heels in love with Johnny and, most importantly, becomes his new dance partner.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve seen Dirty Dancing, but I’d forgotten just how much fun it is to watch. And while I’m not a die hard fan of the movie, it’s clear that it’s an absolute crowd-pleaser, featuring iconic lines from the film, alongside its award-winning soundtrack.

While key members of the cast remain the same, with both Malou and O’Reilly reprising their roles as Baby and Johnny, the show has been through some changes.

The set has been stripped back somewhat since I first saw the show in 2019. This feels like it takes away a bit of the magic, yet the show still manages to hold onto its sexy reputation that left a chunk of the audience a little hot under the collar on more than one occasion.

Malou still does an outstanding job as Baby and manages to pull off mirroring Jennifer Garner with the greatest of ease. From slick dance moves to her girl next door attitude, it’s a role that she was certainly born to play.

READ MORE: 15 of the biggest shows coming to the West Midlands

O’Reilly equally puts in a strong performance as Johnny. With a history of dancing in Matthew Bourne’s Lord of the Flies, his dancing skills truly lend themselves to this performance, which saw him deliver show-stopping routines.

Taking on the roles of Baby and Johnny is no easy task, but thanks to the incredible chemistry from both leading parties, everything feel into place. And when it came to the mighty final, it came as no surprise that the audience’s reaction absolutely raised the roof.

There are parts of the show that did feel a bit stilted, however. Flecks of waiting a bit too long for the soundtrack to fade and the cast to re-appear, and there were elements of the previous staging that I certainly missed, but there’s no denying that Dirty Dancing will continue to play its part on stage for many years.

Slick, sexy and stylish, Dirty Dancing is a fantastic night out that will have you laughing, clapping and singing along from the get-go, I certainly had the time of my life watching this show.

Dirty Dancing runs at The Alexandra until Saturday, October 16. Click here to book tickets.

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