Ever since I can remember, I’ve been singing along to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack but believe it or not, I’ve never seen the film. When I was a child, it was one of my mams favourites and I always remember her playing the CD as she danced about the sitting room hoovering.
To this day, ‘Hungry Eyes’ and ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’ are some of my favourite songs and they’ll always get me singing along!
Last night, I had those songs brought to life before my eyes as the stage show of Dirty Dancing came to the Sunderland Empire. I snapped up the opportunity to go to see it and of course, I took my mam along with me.
Millions have seen it across the globe and finally, it was our turn.
Dirty Dancing is the sensational love story of Baby (aka Frances Houseman) and Johnny Castle; who are two young adults from very different worlds that fall in love despite all odds.
The fantastic stage production very much tracks the flow of the movie, from the soundtrack to the iconic dance moves and staying true to the storyline that made it a smash hit at the box office back in the late 80s.
Arrival at the Sunderland Empire was, as always, a grand affair with its stunning architecture and beautiful sweeping staircase. At over 100 years old and renovated in relatively recent years, it is one of the most stunning buildings in Sunderland and definitely one that puts theatre on the map in the North East. I always feel so lucky to have it on my doorstep as plenty of the big productions from the West End tour there.
Whenever I go to the Empire, I always like to take the extra time to enjoy drinks before the show and during the interval in the bar. The atmosphere is always electric and buzzing with anticipation of whats to come.
Its clear to see why this show has become a worldwide smash hit.
Both lead roles were very cleverly cast with Katie Eccles adopting the timid and often geeky nature of Baby expertly well while Lewis Griffiths had somewhat of a Christian Grey effect on the majority of the audience with his portrayal of Johnny. Since Patrick Swayze played Johnny in the film, anyone stepping into the role would have big shoes to fill and Lewis Griffiths certainly did a stellar job that had more than just Baby swooning after him.
While I haven’t seen previous productions of the show, this one was by all accounts, far better than previous years with an upgraded set design and props and a stellar cast who gave it their all. I loved how dynamic and realistic the scenes were and the singing and dancing really brought the songs I knew and loved from the movie soundtrack to life.
The 35 songs performed had the audience singing along and dancing in their seats but it was (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life that everyone was waiting for. The audience sat captivated, initially by the opening of the song that instantly draws you in but then by the anticipation of the lift that was, thankfully, performed faultlessly.
Catch a glimpse of the sensational performances in the trailer below:
Fancy having the time of your life too? There’s still time to see Dirty Dancing at the Sunderland Empire until Saturday 1st July, including a Friday and Saturday matinee performance, before it drives off into the sunset to perform in Bristol and beyond!
Head to ATG Tickets to book.