If you’ve been living under a rock for the best part of 20 years, you’ll not know what Dirty Dancing is about. In a nutshell, girl meets badboy, falls for badboy, annoys her father, and then at the end provides the dance move for every single drunken wedding reception… which normally ends up in a heap on the floor. There, I think you’ve got the idea.
It’s instilled into every female of a certain age although, and this may surprise you, I know of one woman of the age of 29, who’s never seen Dirty Dancing all the way through. In her words she got “bored halfway through”. She’s also not seen Ghost, but that’s another story. So in Cardiff at the moment is Dirty Dancing the musical (DDTM). And my friend who’s gotten “bored halfway through” normally is seeing it with me. A challenge? Maybe.
Now you need to know that DDTM is not a musical in the traditional sense. Yes, music is played and songs sung, but for the main part, it’s accurate to the film even with the dance training montage. But you don’t get Johnny Castle or Baby suddenly bursting into song like in other musicals – this is no South Pacific. It’s more about the experience of watching a film, live in front of you. Not on a small 19” telly or on a big multiplex cinema screen, but living breathing and able to touch – which is what theatre is about (although the latter part would get you thrown out of the auditorium).
So what about DDTM? Now I could pick up on technical things, like accent, or audio problems, but for the sold out crowd at Wales Millennium Centre, it isn’t about that. It’s exactly as I’ve previously described – it’s about the experience. It’s watching your fantasy come to life in front of you – you want to be the one who carries the watermelon – you’re the one who cheers when the immortal line about corners and baby is uttered. And for the record, my friend enjoyed it – and didn’t get bored half way through.
It has a cast that’s full of energy to carry the performance from start to finish, and if you’re a fan of the film, you’ll leave feeling elated. I think even if you’re not such a massive fan you’ll leave thinking it wasn’t 2 hours of your life that you won’t get back. You will, as the song goes, have the time of your life.
Now, I’m off to do some writing What about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – The Musical…
Dirty Dancing The Musical is on at Wales Millennium Centre until 1st December then continues around the country. More info at http://www.dirtydancingontour.com/