Reviewed by Julie Hayward
The Alexandra Theatre is situated in Birmingham City Centre, it is an easy five-minute walk from New Street Train Station. If coming by car there is a large NCP car park right next door to the theatre.
After collecting our tickets in the foyer, we made our way up the staircase to the Piano Bar, which is open 90 minutes prior to the performance commencing. There is ample comfortable seating, and the atmosphere sets the mood for a night at the theatre, with the pianist playing beautifully in the background. There are several places you can purchase sweets and popcorn along with other refreshments and the toilets are accessible on every level.
Our seats were in the stalls of this elegant theatre, which is celebrating its 120th birthday this year.
Suspended above the blacked-out stage in huge neon pink lettering was the iconic Dirty Dancing film logo.
The classic music began with the Da-doom, of the opening notes of the Dirty Dancing theme tune, leggy dancers were on stage performing ‘Strictly style’ dances accompanied by musicians playing in the Kellerman’s Band. Centre stage we met our leading lady, played by Kira Malou, who told us ‘It was 1963, we were at Kellermans, and everyone called her Baby.’
The writer of the stage show Eleanor Bergstein was the original screenwriter for the film Dirty Dancing, it is said to be ‘one of the most successful independent films of all time’ and I would agree, it has been one I have adored since my youth and now my teenage daughter has watched it many times over. I do think there is some reliance on the audience’s familiarity with the storyline and the characters. It doesn’t in anyway take away credit that the casting is superb, Johnny Castle played by Michael O’Reilly equals the sex appeal of the film’s original actor, heartthrob, Patrick Swayze. Carlie Milner gives a very believable performance as Penny Johnson and is an amazing dancer. In fact, the whole cast resembles that of the original film, giving us a warm invitation to relax and enjoy.
The music is a seamless mix of original soundtracks and wonderful vocal performances by the actors, all of the classics that you would expect are there such as ‘Hey! Baby’ and ’She’s like the wind’, the unforgettable ’Lisa’s Hula’ and my personal favourite, ‘love is strange’ with the iconic line ‘come here lover boy,’ all let the story unfold accumulating with the much anticipated ‘(I’ve had) the time of my life’.
The set design is simple but takes us around the various locations with ease. The costumes and hairstyles are reminiscent of the time and the choreography for the dance numbers is a brilliant, they include Ballroom and Latin dances, all of the couples’ dances and the larger group dances which include the supporting ensemble are fabulous.
It’s a real feel-good show to enjoy with friends and family, the party atmosphere will leave you with many familiar tunes going around inside your head.
Tickets cost from £13(plus transaction fee £3.65)
Dirty Dancing – THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE is at The Alexandra Theatre Birmingham from Tues12 Oct to Sat 16 Oct 2021
For more information or to book tickets visit Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage Tickets | The Alexandra, Birmingham in Birmingham | ATG Tickets or call the box office 020 7206 1174
The Alexandra, Suffork Queensway, Birmingham, West Midands, B5 4DS