Dirty Dancing Review

Grand Theatre, Leeds – until 10 June 2023

Reviewed by Katie Brewerton


Dirty Dancing is back on tour and has come to Leeds! After the release of the film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in 1987 Dirty Dancing became a huge hit and this production does not disappoint whether you’re a fan of the film or new to the story.

This fantastic production tells the story of Johnny Castle (Michael O’Reilly), a dance teacher at a family friendly holiday resort and Francis ‘Baby’ Houseman (Kira Malou), who is visiting for the summer with her parents. Set in the US in the summer of 1963, just as the world is beginning to change and the civil rights movement was reaching its pinnacle. 17-year-old Baby visits Kellerman’s with her family. Baby is introduced to the secret, raunchy dance scene by Billy (Danny Colligan), where the staff at the resort spend their spare time and she soon finds herself mesmerised. After finding out Penny (Georgia Aspinall), Johnny’s fellow dance teacher and friend is in trouble and is unable to attend a dance performance crucial for her and Johnny to keep their jobs Baby is willing to do what she can to help. This results in her becoming Johnny’s dance partner, from two completely different backgrounds Johnny and Baby quickly form a close relationship as Johnny teaches Baby all she needs to know to complete the routine and the chemistry between them quickly builds as feelings blossom.

There can’t be a show about dancing without a whole load of dance numbers, which don’t disappoint. The talent of both O’Reilly and Aspinall is evident from the moment they step on stage and the rest of the cast and ensemble have no problem keeping up. We also have the pleasure of seeing Kellerman’s band performing on stage, as they provide music for both the characters and the audience to enjoy. 

This feel good musical is bound to leave you wanting more, the cast is fantastic and a special mention must go to Danny Colligan who’s rendition of ‘(I’ve had) the Time of My Life‘ was phenomenal and with hits including ‘Hungry Eyes‘ and ‘Do you Love Me?‘ you’ll be sure to have ‘the time of your life’ at this show.