Bristol Theatre News

Dirty Dancing at The Bristol Hippodrome Review – UK Tour 2017

Dirty Dancing
Bristol Hippodrome
July 2017

Our View: Buy a ticket for this show. You will thank me. For this is the best show I’ve seen in such a long time. And, definitely pop a pound in for the binoculars as well.

Rating: 10/10

Speechless is how I felt at the end of Dirty Dancing, currently at The Bristol Hippodrome as part of a UK tour.

Shows come at go at the Central Bristol theatre. Some are tolerable, some OK, some are great, some are brilliant and then there’s Dirty Dancing. It’s the best film turned musical out of all of them and this production is outstanding.

It’s totally faithful to the much loved movie, but not a slave to it. Gillian Bruce’s choreography is scintillating. Director Federico Bellone has nailed it totally and Roberto Comotti’s clever set steers us between the locations we recognise and scenes we know from heart.

And that brings us to Casting Director Debbie O’Brien. Bristol salutes you Debbie, for what a cast. I never thought it possible I could see a production of Dirty Dancing where an actor playing Johnny Castle would ever equal, let alone possibly surpass Patrick Swayze.

But here we have Lewis Griffiths in the lead part. An actor and dancer whom mere words cannot describe. This man, this man is not only beautiful to look at, but his dancing is hot, his voice pitch perfect, his disdain spot on. It’s completely unfair to the rest of the cast because it’s probably true to say most of the audience’s eyes are on him most of the time. He dominates the stage in the manner the role demands but is also able to bring out the more vulnerable side of Johnny’s character too. I know I’m far from alone in my whole-hearted approval with a good-natured audience mumbling their appreciation at appropriate moments. In fact, we were all completely smitten.

He is perfectly partnered with Katie Eccles, who is a fresh faced earnest Baby Houseman. She’s not a two dimensional Jennifer Grey clone either. I particularly liked the quirky, unpolished feel her dancing had during the Sheldrake scene. Carlie Milner as pro dancer Penny Johnson was breathtaking and created an electric dynamic with Griffiths and Eccles during Hungry Eyes.

Bravo too to the (I’ve had) The Time of My Life number at the end. The cast bring their own sparkle to this piece which is lifted directly from the movie. There’s no tinkering with what works and it is complete with The Lift.

This production grabs you from the second it starts. It’s a fresh feeling, dynamic yet faithful recreation of one of the most popular movies of all time. It doesn’t put a foot wrong from start to finish and will totally make your week.

Dirty Dancing is only on at the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 08 July 2o17. Don’t miss it!