Theatre review: Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing at Leeds Grand Theatre
Dirty Dancing at Leeds Grand Theatre
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Leeds Grand Theatre ****

Dirty Dancing was a box office smash hit film in 1987, the soundrack generated two albums and a clutch of singles and it made a star of the hitherto unknown Patrick Swayze.

And then came the show: it translates easily to the stage. The simple storyline of young girl shrugging off the shackles of her childhood and falling for a handsome dance instructor are easy to relate to. There are ready-made songs, some superb dancing and a pair of leading actors who have a real connection to each other with plenty of on-stage chemistry.

Gareth Bailey as the swaggering Johnny Castle may not be Patrick Swayze but he’s a fine substitute with his dark, smouldering good looks, toned torso and superb dancing. Roseanna Frascona is a complete natural as 17-year-old Baby, the naive, innocent and unworldly young girl who emerges from her shell and finally comes of age under the tutelage of Johnny. The largely female audience at the sell-out show at the Grand Theatre, Leeds, clapped and sang along to the hit songs and whooped and hollered especially when the moves got steamy and Johnny took his shirt off. It’s an undemanding production that asks nothing of the audience other than they sit back and enjoy themselves; it’s a feel-good show that is just the thing to liven up a dull winter’s evening.

• To December 6.