Theatre Review: Dirty Dancing - King's Theatre, Glasgow ✭✭✭

Eight years since the first UK tour came to Glasgow, the now record-breaking national tour of Dirty Dancing has merengued its way back into the King's Theatre for one week only.

One of the classic romantic films of our time, Dirty Dancing was originally adapted into a stage production with original screen writer Eleanor Bergstein at the helm in 2004. Fully revamped, this all-new production is directed by Federico Bellone featuring a re-imagined set design by Roberto Comotti and choreography by Gillian Bruce.

The stage show embodies the spirit of the iconic film with all the beloved original songs and favourite lines. With additional scenes added to strengthen the plot beyond the core love story, the cast work well with the, occasionally schmaltzy, material to bring the characters into vibrant, colourful 3D. Johnny and Baby are such well-known characters, and the audience conditioned to Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey's portrayals, that there is very little leeway for the cast to bring their own touches to the characters but through subtle character choices Michael O'Reilly (Johnny) and Kira Malou (Baby) create a sweet interpretation of the iconic duo taking the opportunity to make the roles their own. In the current US political climate, Penny's storyline is particularly poignant and delivered sensitively by Simone Covele.

The hardworking, energetic ensemble cast and the onstage Kellerman's house band, deliver the fun night out that the whole audience came to the theatre expecting. While the choreography at times is stifled by the lack of space on stage, as soon as Johnny and Baby stood in the spotlight and the unmistakable first notes of (I’ve Had) The Time of my Life the audience were dancing in their seats with uncontrollable joy. O'Reilly's delivery of the legendary "Nobody puts baby in a corner" line was greeted with a rapturous roar of approval. The iconic finale lift prompted another exultant roar signifying the noisy seal of approval from the Glasgow audience.

This show doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is, a film shoehorned into the guise of a stage musical and that's precisely what brings the audience back for the time of their life, with or without watermelons in tow.

Dirty Dancing is at the King's Theatre Glasgow until Saturday 25th May. For tickets visit the King's Theatre website