REVIEW: Dirty Dancing – Regent Theatre – Stoke-on-Trent


Dirty Dancing at the Regent Theatre in Stoke offers an exhilarating and nostalgic journey into the world of the beloved film. Following its successful run at the Dominion Theatre in London, this production presents an exceptional cast and a talented creative team who breathe new life into the iconic story, creating an unforgettable experience for audiences. This production is must-see for fans of the movie and musical theatre!

Michael O’Reilly and Kira Malou reprise their roles as Johnny and Baby with sheer brilliance. Their performances are a true homage to the film, capturing the essence of the characters while infusing them with their own nuances in interpretations. O’Reilly brings a raw intensity to Johnny, showcasing his exceptional dance skills and charismatic stage presence. Malou, on the other hand, portrays Baby with a delightful combination of innocence and determination. Her transformation from a shy young woman to a confident dancer is captivating, and the audience falls in love with her from the moment she takes to the stage.

Having previously appeared in West Side Story at the Leicester Curve, O’Reilly demonstrates his versatility as an actor and dancer, delivering a captivating performance that exudes both strength and vulnerability. Malou, known for her role in Fame at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, brings her own star power to the production, commanding the stage with her magnetic presence and impeccable dance skills.

Among the supporting cast members, Georgia Aspinall shines as Penny Johnson. Her energy, flexibility, and extraordinary dance talent are truly remarkable. Aspinall’s performance is a true showstopper, leaving the audience in awe of her skills and undeniable stage presence. She brings a vibrant energy to the role, making Penny a character to remember.

Credit: Mark Senior

Jack Loy and Taryn Sudding, portraying Dr. Jake Houseman and Marjorie Houseman respectively, make a lasting impression despite their smaller parts. Loy brings a sense of authority and warmth to the role of Dr. Houseman, creating a believable and endearing character. Sudding captures the essence of Marjorie Houseman with grace and sophistication, adding depth to the familial relationships portrayed in the story.

Daisy Steere delivers a hilarious and memorable performance as Lisa Houseman. She masters the comedic timing of the character, injecting the production with delightful moments of laughter. Steere’s portrayal brings a lightheartedness to the show and showcases her exceptional talent as a comedic performer.

Danny Colligan delivers a commendable performance as Billy Kostecki. Burgess’ portrayal creates a likable and believable character, adding depth to the supporting cast.

A new addition to the stage adaptation, Lydia Sterling, shines as Elizabeth. Although her character doesn’t have a significant role in the story, Sterling’s vocal prowess is simply outstanding. Her powerful and controlled singing voice elevates every song, showcasing her incredible talent. Sterling’s exceptional vocals are a true highlight of the production, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

The ensemble cast, consisting of Mark Faith, Lowri Hamilton, Tyler Lotzof, Jody Zimmerman, Eva Phillips, Callum Fitzgerald, Michael Nelson, Joel Benjamin, Akeem Ellis-Hyman, Jenna Warne, Taylor Bridges, Daisy West, Aaron J Smith, Ayden Morgan, and Thomas Inge, is a force to be reckoned with. Their collective talent and seamless coordination bring depth and energy to every scene, creating a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere on stage. The chemistry among the ensemble members is evident, enhancing the overall experience for the audience. Special recognition should also be given to the on-stage band, including Tom Parsons, Tom Mussell, Gabriel Askew, Tim Wade and Miles Russell, whose musical talents elevate the entire production.

Credit: Mark Senior

The creative team behind Dirty Dancing have crafted a production that successfully captures the essence of the film while infusing it with a fresh and captivating energy. Federico Bellone’s direction ensures a cohesive and engaging narrative flow, expertly guiding the cast and maintaining the spirit of the original story. The choreography by Austin Wilks is nothing short of breathtaking, showcasing the impressive skills of the entire cast. The dance sequences are executed flawlessly, leaving the audience in awe of the talent and precision displayed on stage.

Jennifer Irwin’s costume designs are a visual feast, perfectly capturing the fashion and style of the 1960s era. The costumes not only evoke a sense of nostalgia but also allow for freedom of movement, enabling the dancers to showcase their skills with grace and elegance. Each costume is thoughtfully crafted and tailored to suit the characters and their respective dance routines, further adding to the beauty of the performance/

Valerio Tiberi’s lighting design beautifully complements the performances, setting the mood and guiding the audience’s attention. The lighting seamlessly transitions between scenes, creating a visually stunning and cohesive production. Tiberi’s meticulous attention to detail ensures that every moment on stage is illuminated with precision and artistry.

The music in Dirty Dancing on Tour is both nostalgic and enchanting. While certain songs may have a slightly different arrangement from the film, they retain their emotional impact and seamlessly integrate into the narrative. The music never feels intrusive, but rather serves as a delightful accompaniment to the performances, enhancing the overall experience.

Dirty Dancing on Tour at the Regent Theatre, Stoke is an absolute must-see for fans of the film and live-theatre enthusiasts alike. With its outstanding performances, breathtaking choreography, stunning costumes, and meticulous production elements, this show transports the audience back to the summer of 1963, where they can relive the timeless story of love, dance, and self-discovery. Prepare to be swept off your feet and immersed in a world of passion and rhythm that will leave you dancing long after the final curtain call.

Dirty Dancing is at Stoke’s Regent Theatre until Saturday 8th July 2023 and then continues its tour. Tickets available here*.

Credit: Mark Senior

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2 responses to “REVIEW: Dirty Dancing – Regent Theatre – Stoke-on-Trent”

  1. Karen avatar

    Fabulous afternoon what a fantastic show well done to all the cast great. Xx

  2. Lynn Wilkie avatar
    Lynn Wilkie

    Absolutely LOVED this show! Magnificent performances from ALL the cast …..but Johnny & Baby excelled & portrayed the shows version of this so loved Film to perfection & more!
    Penny….well her dancing skills were top class, loved Billy’s voice & personality and Lisa – what a star she was , so likeable & humorous!
    Dr & Mrs Houseman’s characters were top class too.
    Best Show I’ve ever seen!! Well Done Cast & organisers. Superb!!!

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