Dirty Dancing Reviews

Michael Coveney on Whatsonstage.com (2 stars) – “It’s admirable that the show follows the 1987 film so faithfully, because Eleanor Bergstein’s story is a good one… The ensemble dance numbers come thrillingly alive in Kate Champion’s choreography, and the central couple of Josef Brown and Georgina Rich are much more attractive than Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the movie, Brown especially taking Johnny on to a higher level of sexual intensity and technical dance ability. He also doesn’t have too annoying a hairstyle. The score is a jukebox of the Chantels, the Drifters, Tina Turner, Otis Redding, and so on, but it doesn’t have the coherent texture of a ‘proper’ musical and often seems quite arbitrary. In the end, you feel as though you’ve been cudgelled by a brand product, not gone through the genuine experience of musical theatre.”

Benedict Nightingale in The Times (4 stars) – “This makes Hans Christian Andersen look like a kitchen-sink realist. But who cares when Brown is on the dance floor or (inevitably) in his bedroom…. When he and Rich’s Baby are at their sinuous best, you feel what that movie suggested. Dancing isn’t almost as good as sex. No, sex is almost as good as dancing – or, rather, both are indivisible. Maybe that’s enough to justify a show which adds so little to the original…. All this is brilliantly staged, but raises an obvious question. Why not get a DVD of the movie…? Yet I found myself warming to Bergstein’s modern fairy story and to the principals: Brown, elegant of mind and spirit as well as body, and Rich, growing in assurance, skill and beauty as she takes her life into her own hands – and, of course, her own feet.”

Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail – “…. Dirty Dancing is a night of good, jiggly rubbish, blameless silliness which ends with an uplifting finale. It’s hard to dislike it, but it’s also hard to call it memorable art. It’s a product, and it shows.”

Paul Taylor in the Independent – “The dancing… is the delight of James Powell’s attractively staged and happiness-spreading production of the nifty theatrical adaptation by Eleanor Bergstein. True, as Johnny, the chippy dance instructor at the up-market American Butlins, Josef Brown does not have the balletic dynamism of Patrick Swayze in the movie, nor does he have the latter’s capacity to make you root for the little man, as he’s a tall, strapping mass of muscle. But he and the well-cast Georgina Rich – who brings light physical grace and just the right kind of unconventional attractiveness to the role of doctor’s daughter, ‘Baby’ Houseman – radiate an infectious pleasure in their dancing together. This is a show that will give keen pleasure to Dirty Dancing addicts and to newcomers alike…. The music is a mixture of recorded golden oldies…. in general, this is a very enjoyable evening.”

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Billy Elliot The Musical Reviews

“…Billy Elliot strikes me as the greatest British musical I have ever seen, and I have not forgotten Lionel Bart’s Oliver! or Andrew Lloyd Webber’s  Phantom of the Opera. There is a rawness, a warm humour and a sheer humanity here that is worlds removed from the soulless slickness of most musicals. Yes,
there are rough edges that would give Cameron Mackintosh a fit of the vapours, yes, there are occasional scenes that are not as powerfully played as those in the film. But there is so much more that is big and bold, imaginative and great-hearted. The emotion always seems real and spontaneous, rather than
cunningly manipulated to pull at the heartstrings… The whole cast is blessed with a freshness and sincerity I have rarely seen equalled, and one leaves this triumphant production in a mist of tears and joy.” The Daily Telegraph

“Turning small-scale movies into big musicals is a treacherous business. It failed with The Full Monty, which lost all of its gritty truth when musicalised. But Billy Elliot succeeds brilliantly because Elton John’s music and, especially, Peter Darling’s choreography enhance Lee Hall’s cinematic concept. The musical, even more than the film, counterpoints Billy’s personal triumph with the community’s decline… Stephen Daldry’s production is a model of fluidity and intelligence. He constantly reminds us that the special power of the musical is that it can express a lyrical idea through physical action…” The Guardian

“…Together, Stephen Daldry and Lee Hall have concocted a piece that’s tougher, bolder and, as my tear-ducts can attest, more moving than its admittedly admirable celluloid precursor. With its rags-to-riches, or rather poverty-to-piroutte, story, the piece invites sentimentality. But that’s almost entirely missing in the Geordie pit village where young Billy discovers he has a gift for dance… Moreover, the action exactly coincides with the 1980s miners’ strike — and this comes across far more emphatically than in the film…” The Times

Billy Elliot The Musical, based upon Stephen Daldry’s classic movie, is just irresistible. It catches you
– or at least me – in its fervent grasp, and pins you down with all the artfulness of a vintage seducer, right to the misguided, sentimental finale… This is an evening which throws a fierce political punch as well as an emotional one. No modern musical has struck such rebellious, old Labour, workingclass conscious notes… Stephen Daldry, always at his best on the grand scale, deftly marshals a throbbing mixture of angry miners, threatening policemen and little girls in tutus – all singing. Ian MacNeil’s versatile designs set the changing
scenes…” The London Evening Standard

“BILLY’S A WHIZ! He’ll lift your soul, make you cry and send you home high with hope. Quentin Letts dances with delight at the first night of the £5million musical adaptation of Billy Elliot. Only its heavy-handed politics take the shine off the show. DREAMY dancing, full-rip staging, stonking songs and terrible politics. But for its dismally trite, Socialist Worker angle on the miners’ strike, Billy Elliot the Musical would stand tall this morning as a production of the most searing quality. Even with that significant flaw this is
a glorious show. It’s a weepie, funny spectacle married to a super score by Sir Elton John. The beautiful blond boy playing the lead last night, Liam Mower, will surely become the biggest child star since Mark Lester played Oliver Twist…” The Daily Mail

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Never Forget Transfer from the Savoy Theatre to Lyrics

Never Forget Transfer from the Savoy Theatre to Lyrics Theatre. The season will run from Thursday 20th November 2008 to Saturday 25th April 2009 and is now available for bookings.

Never Forget is the story of Ash Sherwood, an aspiring singer-songwriter struggling to make it on the Manchester music scene. Along with Jake Turner – his best friend and brother of Ash’s fiancée, Chloe Turner –Ash auditions for a Take That tribute band, desperate to try anything that might elicit his big break.

At the auditions Ash and Jake meet band manager Ron Freeman. Ron, a budding pop Svengali, is searching for a group of willing and amenable lads so desperate for success he can mould them into his very own version of the ultimate boy band: Take That. Never one to dream small when big will do, Ron not only wants to enter the band into a big competition, he also wants his band to be capable of transcending their humble beginnings and “to change the face of pop”. However, instead of the fame hungry puppets he wanted, our Svengali soon realises that he has instead recruited five creative and original characters – each committed to the group for their own reasons.

There’s Ash, who after years of wasting his talent in dingy bars and clubs is chasing the prize money that might help save his mum’s struggling pub and pay for his wedding to Chloe; Jake ‘The Face’ Turner, a sharp witted, wannabe ladies man hoping the band will get him out of his dead end job; Adrian Banks, an introverted bank manager, hopelessly attempting to win over his adulterous wife; Dirty Harry, a dim yet endearing stripper looking to recover his self respect; and Jose Reize, a wide-eyed and optimistic Spaniard, who has travelled to England to make something of himself – away from the clutches of his overbearing mother.

Having been brought together by Ron with promises of world domination the boys quickly form a genuine bond, practicing long and hard for the competition they hope will launch them towards stardom. However, the arrival of ambitious record executive Annie Borrowman throws those bonds into doubt and tests the loyalty and friendship of all those involved.

Never Forget is a story of dreams, ambition and betrayal: because sometimes you can only really discover who you are by pretending to be someone else…

Never Forget is currently booking until 25th of April 2009 Book Tickets for Never Forget

Rain Man in Apollo!

Josh Hartnett will appear in a upcoming adaptation of the Oscar-winning movie Rain Man, which will be staged in West End from the end of August 2008.The Hollywood star will take a part of Charlie Babbitt, the role originally played by Tom Cruise in this cult movie from 1988. British actor Adam Godley will be performing Dustin Hofman’s part of Charlie’s autistic brother Raymond.

Raymond is the elder brother Charlie never knew he had, an autistic genius who’s spent most of his life in an institution. When Raymond is released into Charlie’s care, Charlie decides to ruthlessly exploit Raymond’s talent in order to save his flagging business. The story about self-discovery and unconditional love begins when two brothers embark on a journey that will forever change their lives.

Rain Man is currently booking until 20th of December 2009 Book Rain Main Theatre Tickets