Dirty Dancing – The musical: Squeaky clean and devoid of any passion

I was still a teenager when I first caught the mega blockbuster hit, Dirty Dancing. Then, I was barely 13 and knew nothing about love. But there are two things I still remember about the movie. First, the passion between the two lead characters, Johnny Castle and Frances “Baby” Houseman, played by the suave Patrick Swayze and beautiful Jennifer Grey, and second, the hit song, “(I’ve had) The time of my life”.

So when I was invited to watch Dirty Dancing last week, I had high expectations.  Would the cast be able to capture the essence of the movie? Would Gareth Bailey (Johnny) be able to create his own “Johnny” and not be haunted by Patrick Swayze’s version? And would Gareth and Bryony Whitfield be able to ignite the passion between Johnny and “Baby”? Unfortunately, this musical failed in all aspects.  It was squeaky clean and devoid of any passion. To put it simply, the cast just went through the motions.

The first half of the musical was uneventful.  It sets the stage for Baby, who, with her New York family, travels to a resort for a vacation.  She befriends Johnny Castle, who is employed by the resort to give the guests dance lessons. Soon, “Baby” falls in love with Johnny after taking dance lessons from him. Bulk of the first act is mainly dancing. However, the dancing is so lackluster, and it fails to ignite the audience’s energy or lift the plot.

The second half is critical because that is when both Johnny and Gareth reaffirm their love for each other.  And the final burst is when they dance to the hit song, “(I’ve had) The time of my life.” But the acting was so dull that they failed to bring out the intense love for each other.  And when the hit song was played, I could only reminisce how Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey brought out the best in each other in the movie.

The musical was a big failure.  It follows the movie so closely that people cannot help but to compare it with the movie.  The worse part was that the unexciting cast failed to convince in its wooden acting and dancing. Frankly, I would have rather spent my time watching the DVD than wasting time on this unenergetic musical.

Dirty Dancing
MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue

The show will run from 24 May to 16 June 2013.

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