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BrumHour saw Dirty Dancing at the invite of The Alexandra.
For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre, Michael O’Reilly spoke about playing Johnny Castle in the 2023 UK Tour of Dirty Dancing. Listen below:
By Dave Massey twitter.com/brumhour
This production deals with abortion, misogyny and features lots and lots of grinding!
Review: Dirty Dancing returns to The Alexandra
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐A great experience!
Directed by Federico Bellone, written by Eleanor Bergstein based on Dirty Dancing
Summer 1963 at Kellerman’s holiday resort in New York State: Frances Houseman (Kira Malou), known as “Baby”, is vacationing for two weeks with her sister Lisa (Daisy Steere) and parents (Taryn Sudding and Jack Loy). Very quickly dance teacher Johnny Castle (Michael O’Reilly) catches her eye, but her family really don’t approve.
Confession time: I’ve never seen Dirty Dancing before, either the film or this stage version, and except for knowing (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life and several quotes from the film, I knew very little about it.
The plot is set up fast and touches on plenty of subjects from classism to civil rights with the huge backdrop of the changing generation of the 1960s.
The audience who came to see this utterly loved it, they gave it a huge standing ovation and whilst I did really enjoy it, it is their passion and love for this production and the film that adds the extra star to my review. It turns it from a very good show into a great experience!
Any sniff of Michael O’Reilly taking off his shirt and the audience are whooping. His character is manipulated by others around him and his life looking after rich women for money makes it clear he sees very little future. Michael is an excellent dancer and performs each key moment with ease and strength.
Kira Malou is full of humour and quirks as Baby and really draws the audience in to her tennis shoe wearing character with big hair and apparently two left feet. She’s arriving/just arrived into being an adult and she sees flaws everywhere and that she can solve every problem.
The set is three mini stages for the characters to have secret encounters, there’s even a balcony to make me think of Romeo and Juliet. Unlike lots of musicals where the songs come from the characters to further the story, Dirty Dancing uses a great onstage band with excellent vocalists who, in general, are not part of the narrative.
If you don’t mind being around over a thousand excited women and less than twenty slightly fearful men on a night out, this is the show for you.
A great experience, Dirty Dancing is at The Alexandra until 22nd July 2023. Book tickets using BrumHour’s affiliate link >> HERE <<.