With Viva Forever! closing early, the gaping hole at the Piccadilly Theatre has been filled by the return of Dirty Dancing to the West End.
A scene from Dirty Dancing Photo: Alastair Muir
Just as many of us will never tire of the 1987 film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, there is a good chance that Theatreland audiences are still up for some DD action in the flesh, so to speak, as the show serves fans of the movie very faithfully indeed.
Penny (Charlotte Gooch) is still lithe, leggy and blonde, Johnny (Paul-Michael Jones) is brooding, broad-shouldered and handsome, Baby (Jill Winternitz) is cute, curly-haired and deceptively strong-willed - only Baby’s mum Marjorie (Julia J Nagle) is somewhat different, displaying much more depth and common sense than the screen version.
It is actually difficult to deliver a straightforward critical assessment of the show because it is so intertwined with the film and how you feel about the original - entirely a matter of which camp you belong to. It is as simple as this: if you hate the film then avoid at all costs and if you love the film then you could well have seen the play already and know how sensational it is.
There are certain touches that really get a great reaction from the audience, such as swoony Johnny gatecrashing the final show via a brisk march through the stalls, the beautifully choreographed lift lesson in the lake and pretty much everything the brilliant Emilia Williams does as ditzy sister Lisa.
For those that grew up with Dirty Dancing, this is a night of nostalgia, sexy moves and wholesome romance. Surely there must be enough fans out there to make the show’s return to the West End a success?