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Audience having the time of their lives with slick Dirty Dancing

By Herald Express  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

grand job:   Paul Michael Jones and Jill Winternitz in Dirty Dancing

grand job: Paul Michael Jones and Jill Winternitz in Dirty Dancing

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DIRTY DANCING

★★★★★

Theatre Royal, Plymouth

THERE'S no doubt Dirty Dancing is still hugely popular today.

Almost 30 years since the 'chick flick' was released, women around the country are snapping up tickets to the stage show, based on the film, and are packing out theatres

Women clearly resonate with the film and love the story.

It's always hard to recreate such a well-loved film on stage and turn it into a stage show, but this production is on to a winner.

The costumes, characters, soundtrack and saucy dance routines are the same as the movie and the audience loved every minute of it and whooped and clapped in all the right places.

Set in 1963 at a holiday camp, it follows sweet and innocent daddy's girl Baby on a family holiday where she falls for dance instructor Johnny Houseman, much to her family's dislike.

The love story is uplifting and oozes sex appeal.

I have to admit I'm a huge fan of the film and hot-footed it to the West End a few times to catch the live show in the big smoke and that was fabulous.

In my opinion the touring version is even better, as I think the staging is less cluttered and cleaner and overall it's a slicker show.

The main characters Johnny and Baby, played by Paul Michael Jones and Jill Winternitz, both did a grand job.

They perfectly recreated the famous scenes with ease and the pair created the spark needed. Most importantly they danced the iconic routine with the lift and the audience went crazy for it, clapping and cheering throughout.

There was also mass shrieking when the lead Paul Michael stripped off his top to reveal a toned physique when Baby and Johnny start their romance.

I have to say I preferred Josef Brown, who originally played the role of Johnny in Australia and in London, as he was a little more rugged.

Paul Michael still lived up to expectation and there's no questioning his dancing ability — it was phenomenal.

Nicky Griffiths, Johnny's dance partner Penny, was incredible in the choreographed routines and played the part well.

What was brilliant about the stage version is there seemed more light and shade and more comedy, courtesy of squeaky clean geek Neil Kellerman (Stefan Menaul) and Baby's sister Lisa (Emilia Williams).

Emilia really hammed up the part and got the whole audience chuckling when she performed a Hula Song.

It was hilarious.

Coming out of the theatre I heard quite a few theatregoers say they'd had the 'time of their lives' watching the show.

It runs until February 9.

DAWN ELLIS

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