Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? Last August, my friends and I had a brainwave, and decided to book a little January treat for ourselves. We each invited a few friends, and before we knew it there were over twenty of us booked on a night out to see Dirty Dancing in the Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin. Best of all, we paid for the tickets in October, knowing that January can be a cash-strapped month at the best of times. By the time our night out rolled around, it almost felt like a free night out, it had been so long since we’d paid up!
I’d never been to the Grand Canal Theatre before, so I was excited to see the theatre as much as the show. Inside it’s smaller than I imagined, but it’s a great size for a stage show. We had really good seats (thanks Carol – great choice!), but looking around, it seemed as though there wasn’t a bad seat in the house.
Dirty Dancing was a little different to my previous musical experiences. With most musicals, you do tend to get a higher proportion of women to men in the audience. But in this case, men don’t seem to get a look in at all. I’d estimate there were AT LEAST twenty women for every man in the place – and I’m counting the men who worked there! 🙂
It’s probably also a little inaccurate for me to refer to Dirty Dancing as a musical. It’s not really. There’s music in it alright, but really, it’s the movie brought to stage. I was delighted about that. I hadn’t been too sure what to expect – would it be the soundtrack of the movie and some great dance scenes? Would it be a new storyline loosely based on the movie? Thankfully, it was neither of those things – it was the movie faithfully replicated on stage. Well as faithfully as possible anyway – you didn’t really expect them to build a lake onstage did you?!
All of the key roles were well cast. I thought Baby and Penny (Oh my God – how long were her legs???) were both great. I found it a bit more difficult to suspend my disbelief for Johnny. After all, Patrick Swayze immortalised that role. I have a hard time imagining anyone else playing it quite so well.
I think Dirty Dancing – the Stage Show – is dependent on you having seen (and loved) the movie. One of my friends isn’t from Ireland originally, and she hadn’t seen the movie before going to the show, and while she had no problem following the storyline on stage, she said afterwards that she found it a bit offputting that the audience were laughing BEFORE the action on stage. And we were! When Baby utters the words “I carried a watermelon”, half of the audience was saying it with her! But to me that was half the magic of the show.
So if you were a fan of Dirty Dancing back in your teenage years (or more recently!), and you haven’t seen the stage show yet, you should check it out. I promise you won’t be disappointed! It’ll make you feel 16 again! 🙂