Dirty Dancing at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Rehearsals for Hedda Gabler by The Bench, April 2018. Picture by Jacquie Penrose

Bench Theatre brings Ibsen classic to The Spring  

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Judging by the turnout at Southampton’s Mayflower theatre, the crowd had been waiting quite some time for this musical, adapted from the 1987 iconic classic Dirty Dancing, starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze.

For 17-year-old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman (played here by Emily Holt) the summer of 1963 proves positively life changing. From simply carrying a watermelon, she witnesses an array of activity which takes place behind the scenes at the holiday resort, Kellerman’s.

She’s captivated in mind, body and soul by the bad boy persona of Johnny Castle (Paul-Michael Jones) who sweeps her off her feet as she learns to dance in place of the pregnant Penny (Charlotte Gooch).

One thing that stood out for me was the energetic dancing, particularly from Gooch, and the closeness of the scenes (there are more than 70).

Special mention should go out to Baby’s sister Lisa (Emilia Williams) for her rendition of ‘Hula,’ and to Paul-Michael Jones as he embarks from the stalls to the stage for Johnny’s final scene. The audience went wild to the infamous line ‘No-one puts Baby in the corner’.

So yes...we had the time of our lives!

Until April 28.