The national tour of smash-hit musical Dirty Dancing waltzed into Southampton this week and was greeted by a packed Mayflower Theatre.
Hoards of excited women went silent as Baby delivered the infamous opening lines: “It was the summer of 1963, when everybody called me Baby and it didn’t occur to me to mind. It was before President Kennedy got shot, before The Beatles came, when I couldn’t wait to join the Peace Corps and I thought I’d never find a guy as great as my dad. That was the summer we went to Kellerman’s”. At The Kellerman’s holiday resort, Frances Houseman (Baby), turns from daddy’s girl to the woman of Johnny Castle’s dreams. Her well-to-do family are initially upset at Baby’s choice of man, but as any fan of the film will know, that doesn’t last.
For all my criticisms though, certain parts of the show are mind blowing. The set, video, lighting and projections were world class, as were the band, who I always seem to enjoy more when they are not hidden in the pit. The highlight of the first half was without doubt the scenes where Baby was practising her balance (on the log) and the lift (in the water). The projections were truly stunning and drew me back in to the whole story.
‘Lisa’s Hula‘ got a great reaction, but the whole show was really all about one moment – the finale where Johnny takes Baby from the corner and throws her into the limelight, where she belongs. The whole crowd really woke up, with (some of) the hoards of screaming women up on their feet, whooping and cheering throughout “The Time Of My Life”.
Dirty Dancing runs at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre until Saturday 28th April 2012. Tickets, priced from £19.50 are available from the Mayflower website here.