I haven’t written a blog for a while. I was lacking inspiration and time to write, but all of a sudden I have lots of ideas and also a bit of time to put pen to paper, so to speak. So I thought I would tell you about what I got up to the other night.
It was something that I had planned quite a while ago with my best friend Emma. Something I had been looking forward to for some time. We took a little trip to Cardiff after work to go to the New Theatre to see a musical. The New Theatre is a historic part of Cardiff and a Grade II listed building nestled in the city centre. A little hidden gem.
Going to the theatre is something that I always enjoy. In the past, I’ve seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, War Horse, Evita, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ghost, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Present, Singing in the Rain and more, in Cardiff, Bristol, London and New York. But I was really excited about this musical. We were going to see the classic Dirty Dancing!
It was a funny coincidence that on Sunday evening, the original Dirty Dancing film happened to be on TV and I couldn’t resist watching it to refresh my memory. It’s a fun film and I love the energetic music and dancing throughout, with a thought-provoking story behind it. Set in the 1960’s, Dirty Dancing is the story of Baby (Francis), a young woman holidaying with her family at an American camp. It follows the tale of her tumultuous first romance with dancer Johnny, as Baby learns to dance through the highs and the lows that come with it. It’s not a soppy romantic film. In fact, it’s quite funny and entertaining in parts, particularly the part where Baby’s sister performs in the talent competition!!! So the musical sounded promising and we had been eagerly awaiting this day to see it live on the big stage.
The New Theatre in Cardiff is an impressive building tucked away in the heart of the city. Inside, it has the air of an elegant and old-fashioned theatre, which I love! It’s quite a contrast to the impressively modern architecture of the Wales Millenium Centre. We had great seats in the circle, just a few rows from the front, with a fantastic view of the stage:
The show began right in at the action, with the family arriving at the Kellerman’s holiday camp. The stage quickly exploded into singing and dancing, filling the set with the well-loved story of Dirty Dancing. It certainly didn’t disappoint! The performers were impressive, remembering dance routine after dance routine and their stage presence was refreshing and exciting. They could act, sing and dance in equal measure – true triple threats as they are called in the musical theatre industry – keeping us entertained with energetic dancing, enchanting vocals and engaging acting. The costumes were true to the 60’s and the set was thoughtful and clever too, with rotating scenes changing quickly from indoor to outdoor scenes of the camp. Without giving away too many spoilers, one of my favourite moments was when Baby and Johnny were practicing their dance lifts in the lake. The way they did it was so unexpected and ingenious, leading to the whole audience laughing in amusement!
Throughout the show, the performers engaged with the audience in an unusual, unique and enjoyable twist compared to my previous theatre experiences. Some of the scenes were surprising, catching us unaware and the audience reactions were hilarious. I don’t know how the performers managed to carry on unabashed!!! We were sat amongst a group of older ladies who squealed with delight and announced “ooh, I’m having a hot flush now!!” when the actor playing Johnny took his shirt off…and more! It was also clear that everybody was eagerly awaiting the famous dance lift scene at the end which was executed in elegance and style, with the crowd erupting in cheers of appreciation.
I particularly enjoyed the fact that the show closely mirrored the film. The songs were sung brilliantly live and the orchestra played proudly from the stage which was nice to see. I’m glad the story wasn’t changed for stage production, as it is such a classic and doesn’t need adapting at all. All of the songs and dance routines were perfect for the stage. But best of all, I thoroughly enjoyed it as a live performance because nothing else quite compares. We saw the show on the opening night in Cardiff and there were a few little mishaps…but I feel that it was actually endearing rather than disappointing, and it made me love the show and the performers even more.
I don’t want to give too much away about the show itself, but it was funny, exciting, unexpected, emotional and bursting at the seams with catchy songs and vibrant dancing. I would highly recommend seeing this one… You’ll have the time of your life!