Dirty Dancing Opening Night!

On Thursday Jon and I were lucky enough to be invited to be at Friday night’s opening show of Dirty Dancing at Montecasino.  Jon wasn’t exactly enthusiastic when he shared the news with me.

Jon via SMS: So, X and X have invited us to watch Dirty Dancing tomorrow night with them.  I know you’ve had a very busy week and are probably exhausted, shame you need to rest.  Shall I tell them no thanks?

Me: HELL TO THE NO!  OF COURSE WE’D LOVE TO GO, ARE YOU MAD IN YOUR HEAD?

Jon: Damnit.

I dressed up a little, Jon came home semi-tipsy and off we went.

First off, let’s get the negatives out of the way.  The acting was stiff and forced in the first few scenes.  Baby’s accent left a lot to be desired, but I really think this was due to nerves.  Opening night in SA’s biggest and best theatre has to be daunting, I don’t care how experienced you are.  So I could forgive that, and luckily I did because as the cast got more comfortable on stage, their acting became more natural too.

The water lift scene.  Oi.  I’m not sure if this was intended to be funny, but the audience was in hysterics.  Fake water = lots of laughter. That’s all I’m saying about that.

And of course, I can’t not talk about the two major fails the show had.  Perhaps it was the stage ghost left over from Phantom of the Opera, but the poor production crew for Dirty Dancing had to stop the show twice!  As Baby was doing her routine across the bridge (you know the scene I’m talking about), the rotating stage crashed into the LCD screen providing the forest background ambience.  Oopsiewoopsie.  Baby froze for a second, carried on dancing and eventually ran off stage.  Cue curtains and a very humbled “Ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing technical difficulties and will be taking a short break…”.

Shame man!  I forget what the second mishap was because honestly, it wasn’t worth remembering.  It didn’t matter.  The mishaps on opening night endeared the cast to the audience and, if nothing else, loosened up the entire theatre’s audience.  Up until the first incident, I wasn’t really into the show, I have to be honest.  But afterwards?  I could see the entire cast change, they relaxed and started enjoying themselves.  For instance, when Baby had to reenact the bridge scene again after the impromptu break, the whole theatre held their breaths when that stage started rotating.  And when it went full circle without a hitch, every single one of us erupted with applause and laughter.  And the best part?  Baby had the biggest grin on her face and she giggled.  She giggled, put an extra wiggle in her dance moves and her entire stage presence commanded attention from that moment on.

Johnny was insanely good.  Penny was amazing.  Her legs went on for days, and she was actually my favourite.  The theatre production adds in one or two new scenes not in the movie, but essentially stay very true to it.  Repeating the best lines, bringing the life out of the movie characters and going into a lot of detail.  By the end I was enthralled.

I walked out of the show on a high, loving every minute of it and grateful for a story to tell my friends.  I honestly feel that the show wouldn’t have gone as well if the “technical difficulties” hadn’t happened and made the cast and audience bond over something so ridiculously inconvenient.

After Friday night, all of the other shows will be a breeze for the Dirty Dancing cast, it’s almost guaranteed.  And for that reason, I believe they’ll grow into their roles, relax on stage and have fun with their characters.  In fact, I think I’d like to go back and watch the show again to see the difference.  And that in itself means a lot.

On that premise alone, I give Dirty Dancing 5 out of 5.

Go book for it now.

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Image credits: Dirty Dancing SA Facebook page

6 comments

  1. Kerryn says:

    Quick question.
    Is it appropriate for a 12 year old?
    I’ve been dying to ask someone who’s seen it 🙂

    • SheBee says:

      Hey Kerryn,
      Yes, I think it’s okay. There’s one bedroom scene where she strips to her bra, they lie on the bed and kiss, but then the stage rotates behind blinds so you don’t see anything raunchy, although it wouldn’t take a scientist to figure out what’s going on. In terms of dancing, it’s not even as ‘dirty’ as the movie makes it out to be.

      Put it this way, I’d have no worries taking my god daughter…

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