It’s a good barometer of a show’s success when the audience breaks out into spontaneous song and applause at key moments in the production.
Sheffield Lyceum’s crowd for last night’s (Thursday) performance of Eleanor Bergstein’s classic Dirty Dancing did just that - singing along to 60s favourites Love is Strange, Cry to Me and Hey Baby - and rapturous cheering and applause when protagonist Johnny Castle (Lewis Kirk) speaks those iconic lines ‘no-one puts Baby in a corner’.
This is a clever re-telling on stage of the 1980s film classic of the same name which takes a snapshot in time of three weeks in the life of Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman during her family vacation to Kellerman’s in the Catskills in the summer of 1963.
To those of us who saw the film (more than once) when it first hit the cinema screens back in the 80s, it was always going to be a difficult challenge to pull it off on stage. But thanks to being honest to the original script, brilliant lighting effects and really ingenious staging, it succeeds very well indeed. Hats off to those responsible for re-creating the log scene and the lake scene - this is a real triumph.
With a strong cast - special mention has to go to Colin Charles as Tito, and Mark Faith as Mr Schumacher, for excellent comedic value - wonderful costumes and lovely choreography, this is a must-see show.
It leaves the audience feeling nostalgic, whether that’s for memories of being a teenager in the 1960s, or from the 80s when audiences took the story to their hearts in the cinema.
The musical score is full of fantastic songs, and so wonderful to see the band throughout the production.
Of course, the thought on everyone’s mind at the end was ‘will they do the lift?’, and well, of course they did, to another outburst of approval from the audience.
If there was to be any criticism at all, it would be that the pace of Do You Love Me? and Love Man were too fast, and the dancing could have been that little bit ‘dirtier’, but they are minor points in a very successful stage show of one of Britain’s best loved films.
Dirty Dancing is at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, until Saturday 3rd May.