Theatre Review: Dirty Dancing at The Palace, Manchester

Dirty Dancing at The Palace Theatre, Manchester
Dirty Dancing at The Palace Theatre, Manchester

Before this week the phrase “nobody puts Baby in the corner” meant nothing to me.

But after watching Dirty Dancing on stage at the fabulous Manchester Palace Theatre all that changed.

Never have I heard a line cheered so much in all my life, because what followed it was one of the most iconic dance scenes ever to grace the stage.

I think it’s fair to say that Dirty Dancing, the movie, starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, is one for the ladies.

I don’t know a girl who hasn’t seen it at least 50 times!

But it has kind of passed me by - I’ve seen bits of it but never really took much notice when it was on TV.

And at the Palace women outnumbered men by at least five to one.

The story, if you’ve been living under a rock all your life, concerns a 1960s affluent American family who go on holiday to a summer camp in the Catskill Mountains where relaxation, dancing and good wholesome fun are the order of the day.

But when the Housemans arrive and daughter ‘Baby’ discovers a secret underbelly of ‘dirty' dancing going on after hours, the ideology of the whole wholesome holiday soon changes.

Baby falls for resident dance teacher Johnny Castle and the story revolves around their developing relationship when she has to fill in for Johnny’s regular dance partner who has had, shall we say, a medical mishap.

It all culminates in an amazing final scene with the iconic song ‘Time of my Life’ and dance where Johnny and Baby bring their own brand of dancing very much to the fore.

The stage version, starring the amazing Lewis Griffiths, whose stage credits include Jersey Boys, Legally Blond and Ghost - The Musical, and rising star Katie Eccles, is a very impressive show.

A great set, wonderful performances from the whole cast and some truly epic dance scenes - none better than the finale - earned a standing ovation from the audience.

When you think of all the things that could go wrong live on stage, especially with such complicated dance routines, it’s testament to the actors that it was absolutely flawless. Even ‘the lift.’

The Palace, which opened in 1891, is a wonderful, cosy venue with brilliant views of the stage from all angles and impressive lighting, acoustics and sets.
To find out what’s coming up at the theatre, click here http://www.manchestertheatres.com/palacetheatre.htm