Theatre Review: Dirty Dancing - Edinburgh Playhouse ✭✭✭✭✭

Our evening started with a delicious dinner at 'The Boards', Edinburgh Playhouse's newly renovated restaurant. It has a calm, relaxing atmosphere, in contrast to the bustling city street outside. You could just hear the murmurings of excitement from the audience as they arrived into the beautifully decorated Playhouse foyer, complete with pink Christmas tree decorations, pink bulbs in the chandeliers and the front of house staff in pink ties for the occasion.  

Dirty Dancing begins with Baby (Jill Winternitz) reflecting on the summer of 1963, where her family spent a vacation at Kellerman's. As Baby looks onto the impressive group of dancers, it offers a glimpse into the delights the evening has in store.

Right from the beginning, the audience were in awe of the cast’s amazing dancing talent, especially Penny Johnson (Nicky Griffiths) and Johnny Castle (Paul-Michael Jones). They performed every routine flawlessly, along with entire cast who injected energy into every step.

The show bares more than a resemblance to its namesake film, with each character fitting their role. Jones oozes confidence with a Swayze style swagger. Winternitz captures Baby's innocence when she arrives at Kellerman’s and conveys the close relationship with her Father, Dr Jake Houseman (James Coombes). Neil Kellerman (Stefan Menaul), Lisa Houseman (Emilia Williams), Mr Schumacher (Tony Stansfield) provide slightly more comical characters that keep the piece light

Winternitz and Jones work wonderfully together and kept the audience entertained as their relationship developed, especially during Cry to Me. The scene was met with cheers and whistles from the audience, who were left on the edge of their seats as the scene ended with Baby and Johnny, scantily glad, disappearing off stage.

The creative scenery with its revolving floor and digital videos projecting backdrops of fields and the lake works really well and allows for seamless set changes. It also offers a bit of humour during Wipe Out as Johnny attempts to teach Baby the routine, including the iconic lift. The unquestionable highlight of the show for the audience was when Johnny returned and delivered the unmistakable line “No-one puts Baby in the corner” and perfectly performs the dance routine with Baby to Time of your Life.   

Not only is Dirty Dancing a love story filled with traditional and risqué dance routines, it also explores issues such as class, race and family values which were prevalent at the time and highlighted throughout the show. 
The show exceeded expectations and was well received with cheers, wolf whistles and applauses. No doubt this audience is one of many who will be having the time of their lives at the Edinburgh Playhouse this winter.

Review by Mhairi Greer

Dirty Dancing is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until 12th January 2013. For tickets and information visit