Dirty Dancing wows at HMT

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the pink carpet was well and truly rolled out for the beginning of Dirty Dancing’s run at HMT in Aberdeen.

A capacity audience packed into the auditorium to see the 1987 smash hit movie brought to life in front of their eyes.

Headlining this first-ever national tour, as one of the most iconic couples in cinematic and theatre history, were Paul-Michael Jones as Johnny Castle – played in the film by the legendary Patrick Swayze – and Emily Holt as the watermelon-carrying idealistic Baby, who discovers love and life in the summer she will never forget.

Sharing the stage with them was understudy Nicky Griffiths, as professional dancer Penny, who excelled in her role, making the audience warm to her character and empathise with her situation.

Set in 1963, the story tells of the Houseman family’s summer vacation to Kellerman’s holiday camp. Dance teacher Johnny’s mambo mesmerises Baby, who is suddenly drawn into a much more adult world with the news of Penny’s unwanted pregnancy to waiter, Robbie.

Johnny and Baby’s on-stage chemistry is soon sizzling, however, and Baby’s innocent naivety and ability to see the positive in every situation is expertly portrayed by Emily.

As the familiar story progresses, we hear all the hits from the unforgettable movie soundtrack, such as Do You Love Me? Hungry Eyes and the Academy Award-winning (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, along with many songs that weren’t on the original recording, beautifully sung by members of the cast.

As we follow Baby’s unfolding but troubled love story and close relationship with her father, we could almost be sitting at a table in Kellerman’s restaurant with the family. Even the more humorous scenes - when Johnny and Baby practice the famous lift in the ‘water’ - had the audience mesmerised.

Baby’s ditsy older sister Lisa was comically played by Emilia Williams. During her performance of Lisa’s Hula - complete with bikini top and hula skirt - her over-enthusiasm, ridiculous facial expressions and grossly-exaggerated movements brought great laughs from the audience.

But it was Baby and Johnny’s love story everyone was rooting for and as in the movie, the best was saved ‘til last.

As Johnny burst in and uttered the immortal words ‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner’ the auditorium erupted with cheering as Johnny and Baby performed iconic final dance to ‘(I’ve had) the Time of My Life’.

If the delight of the audience was anything to go by, this fantastically entertaining stage show proved it is every bit as good as the 25-year-old movie!

Dirty Dancing is showing at HMT until Saturday, March 31. Tickets for Friday and Saturday performances are in huge demand and very limited but some tickets are still available for midweek performances at www.boxofficeaberdeen.com, on (01224) 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and HMT.