Dirty Dancing At The Sunderland Empire Review

Dirty Dancing At The Sunderland Empire Review

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!

Dirty Dancing At The Sunderland Empire Review

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 At The Sunderland Empire Review

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.

Dirty Dancing At The Sunderland Empire Review

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.

Dirty Dancing At The Sunderland Empire Review

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.


  1. Claudia Miguel
    July 3, 2017 / 7:53 am

    My and my mumma are literally THE biggest fans on the West-End and I'm deffo gonna need to book us tickets after reading this – I can only imagine how amazing this is!!

  2. Lauretta at Home and Horizon
    July 3, 2017 / 9:19 am

    Sunderland Empire has indeed a beautiful architecture, a perfect place for performances like this.

  3. Jenny Kearney
    July 3, 2017 / 11:57 am

    I've never seen a live version of Dirty Dancing but it sounds fabulous.

  4. A Pirate's View
    July 3, 2017 / 4:53 pm

    Looked like a really nice show. The costumes are really smart ! 🙂

  5. Nayna Kanabar
    July 3, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    It looks like a fabulous show.The photos look great.

  6. ana de jesus
    July 3, 2017 / 11:44 pm

    I can't believe that you have never seen the film before you have to watch it ! Still I would love to watch the musical version so it is great that you enjoyed it so much x

  7. Alison Rost
    July 4, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    I remember watching Dirty Dancing over and over again when I was in high school. To this day it's still one of my favorites. I love that it's in the theatre! If we lived closer, guaranteed I'd be buying a ticket. x

  8. Jonalyn Macandili
    July 5, 2017 / 9:18 am

    Wow, I have never seen the movie either. I guess the live stage show is a better one. Looks like its a good show too. I wish this will also be available in our location. -ANOSA

  9. Jenni Grainger
    July 6, 2017 / 10:53 pm

    Oh it looks so good, I hope they do one nearer to me x

  10. Lisa
    July 18, 2017 / 12:23 pm

    My mum, sister and I went to watch for my mums birthday and it was brilliant. The bit where he says 'nobody puts baby in the corner' erupted into a theatre full of screaming women. Definitely recommend 🙂

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