Dirty Dancing at the Liverpool Empire Review

DirtyDancingEdinburghDirty Dancing
Empire Theatre, Liverpool

7-25 April 2015


Reviewed by Emma Bradley

I have to admit before going to watch Dirty Dancing I had great expectations for it having been a fan of the film for a long time. I went to watch the show with my mother who is also a big fan of the film, I have been to this theatre several times in the past but this time I was accompanied with a wheelchair user. The seating for wheelchairs is at the rear of the stall area, whilst we were on Row U, the stalls are elevated in such a way that it didn’t feel half as far back as it looked when we first went in. There was plenty of room for my mother’s large electric wheelchair and there were also fixed seats next to the wheelchair spaces allowing us to sit together which isn’t always the case in theatres.

For the few people out there who haven’t seen the film, Dirty Dancing is about the coming of age of a young middle class American called ‘Baby’ and her holiday to the Kellermans resort in the early 1960s.The story addresses a lot of the social divides that existed within America at the time with wealthy families going on holiday to large country club resorts for wholesome clean fun where holiday makers learn the meringue and play golf and the staff par take in a raunchier style of dancing in the back of house. Running alongside this is the acknowledgement of wider race issues happening in the south of the country. By chance ‘Baby’ discovers the staff dancing and the dance starts of the resort Penny and Johnny. When Penny gets into trouble Baby finds herself stepping in to help out and falling for Johnny.

Having seen the film hundreds of time I was intrigued to see how they would manage to pull off so many set changes and indoor and outdoor settings which would be required to pull off the storyline, especially the famous dancing on the log scene and the lift in the water. Without wanting to give too much away the musical version makes good use of digital technology which meant you were instantly transported from dance class, to golf course, to bedroom with little disruption.

I have to say that the audience mainly comprised of groups of women on a fun night out and the show didn’t disappoint in the slightest, it included all of the most famous scenes and quotes from the film as well as all the hit songs which got the audience singing along.

The cast did a great job, Roseanna Frascona who played Baby was absolutely fabulous and was so like the original character in terms of looks and mannerisms you forgot she wasn’t from the film. Johnny on the day was played by Lewis Kirk rather than Gareth Bailey but despite being the understudy his performance was faultless and he was very believable as Johnny. The rest of the cast also did a great job the chorography was outstanding from beginning to end, the pure dedication it must take to learn it all is amazing. The singing was brilliant too especially by Colin Charles who played Tito, he really made the show come alive.

I would highly recommend this show to fans of the film and fans of musicals – you won’t be disappointed and would give it a 5 out of 5 and its one of the best shows I have seen for a while.

Rating: 5/5 thumbs_up

Tickets cost from £10 to £79.90 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).

Dirty Dancing is at the Liverpool Empire until 25 April 2015 before touring in Birmingham, Nottingham, Plymouth, Bradford, Canterbury, Norwich, Aberdeen and Llandudno. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office until 844 8713017.

Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017


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