Touring – reviewed at New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
What more could you want when the nights are drawing in? A Dirty Dancing extravaganza which has you grinning from ear to ear, singing along and dancing in the aisles might do it! I certainly had tremendous fun at New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.
This is a tribute show, so in no way affiliated with the Dirty Dancing tour, because it’s a tribute show the atmosphere is instantly more relaxed and as an audience, I felt that we collectively connected with the cast. We were led through the famous hits which were all included in the popular 80’s film, and it was a good job we were encouraged to sing along, because you couldn’t not! Each toe tapping number was performed by the extraordinarily talented vocalists, stunning choreography and accompanied by the smiling faces of the tight-knit cast.
Amanda Coutts and Julian Essex-Spurrier were exceptional as lead vocalists, Coutts’ west-end background shone through as her skills as an actress were as apparent and honed as her other skills, a triple threat if ever I saw one. Spurrier was a good match for the late Swayze, whether deliberate or not and has a velvet tone to his singing voice which lent itself to the musical numbers, perfectly.
Victoria Rachel McCabe was a strong member of the cast and her vocals were beautiful, You Don’t Own Me was a particular highlight. Gemma Buckingham is obviously a born dancer, she moved seamlessly through every dance number and has a very engaging style. Emily Rose Taylor showed equal ability and agility as a dancer and was a notable member of the cast.
Nicolas Collier gave a solid performance and I enjoyed his vocal talent as much as his dancing. Michael Nelson appears to be another triple threat, I will always remember his take on La Bamba and his natural comedy was an asset, indeed. Stuart Rose towered above the rest in height and was quite a presence on stage, he and Buckingham made a formidable dancing partnership.
I think it’s fair (and cheesy) to say that I certainly had the time of my life, singing along to Cry To Me, Hey Baby and Hungry Eyes among other much loved songs. I’d watch this show again and again, I highly recommend it to anyone, you don’t have to have watched Dirty Dancing to enjoy this.