REVIEW: Dirty Dancing, Sunderland Empire, Until Saturday, Feburary 14

GIRLS' NIGHT ... Dirty Dancing is at the Sunderland Empire.
GIRLS' NIGHT ... Dirty Dancing is at the Sunderland Empire.

DIRTY Dancing is fun, sexy and flirtatious – and the perfect girls’ night out.

The stage version of the hit 1987 film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey provides everything you need to let your hair down and have a good time.

It follows 17-year-old Baby (Roseanna Frascona), who spends the summer of 1963 with her family at Kellerman’s resort.

It’s there that she meets dancer Johnny Castle (Gareth Bailey) and embarks on a summer romance after promising to fill in for his dance partner Penny (Claire Rogers) at a showcase at another hotel.

You could tell the audience was packed with fans of the film, as they whooped and cheered in anticipation of all those signature moments.

They’re all there: carrying the watermelon, the arm tickle, feeling the heartbeat, practicing lifts in the water and of course, that all important line, “nobody puts Baby in the corner”.

The show very much sticks with the winning formula of the film, and the mostly-female crowd swooned as Johnny charged through the audience before jumping on the stage and grabbing Baby for that final dance.

Dancing throughout the show is absolutely incredible. The moves showcased by Johnny, Penny, Baby, and the rest of the cast, are smooth, slick and beyond impressive.

Frascona is sweet and charming as Baby and Rogers is feisty as Penny, but Bailey left a little to be desired as Johnny.

Of course, it’s not about being a carbon copy of Swayze, but Bailey played the part a little too moody for my liking.

Some of the cast members’ accents sounded a little too New Jersey and at times, felt a little forced and unnatural.

But overall, the show provides a fantastic night out and is a fitting tribute to the film.

The production was simply incredible. Swift scene changes cleverly allowed the show to continue with little interruption, and projections help Johnny and Baby travel from a meadow to a lake effortlessly.

The movie is famed for its soundtrack and signature tracks like Be My Baby, Do You Love Me?, Hungry Eyes and Hey! Baby certainly got people in the mood for a party.

Most of the songs are performed by a live band and sung by supporting cast members, but some are the original tracks.

Some of the actors in more minor roles really stood out from the crowd. Alexander Wolfe made a huge impression as Neil Kellerman – the audience loved his silly dance moves, and Jessie-Lou Yates had everyone in stitches with her out-of-tune rendition of Hula Huna.

The show builds to that final dance between Johnny and Baby and of course, the iconic lift, which brought everyone to their feet in a standing ovation.

Fans of the film will absolutely adore this show.

Dirty Dancing runs at the Sunderland Empire until Saturday, February 14. Click here to book tickets.

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVicki