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#35 Special Feature Dirty Dancing

Classic film Dirty Dancing gets the musical treatment with bigger dance moves and more antics

By Cheryl Chia

Dirty Dancing, the classic dance film starring the charismatic Patrick Swayze, gets a modern update with flashier, albeit ‘dirtier’, dance moves.

The original film that was released in 1987 seems almost sedate in modern times as Johnny and Baby come alive on stage in a whole different way.

Dirty Dancing the Musical, featuring a mostly South African cast, started its run in Singapore on May 24 and ends on Jun 16. When we went, Luigi Vigliotti played Johnny instead of Gareth Bailey, and he played the bad boy role to perfection. At times, the dialogue did seem a bit stilted but the perfectly executed dance moves more than made up for it.

Many moves were not easy to execute
Many moves were not easy to execute

For those who have not watched the film, Johnny Castle is a bad boy dancer that meets the innocent and sweet Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman, a frequent patron of the Kellerman resort with her family. She helps his pregnant dance partner out of her sticky situation and also replaces her as Johnny’s dance partner in the mambo competition. As they practice, the two fall in love as they teach each other what they know about life.

Bryony Whitfield played the innocent Baby well with her googly eyes for Johnny, well-timed giggles and awkwardness, before blossoming into the consummate dancer who’s had her eyes opened. However, Mila de Biaggi (who played knocked-up Penny), blonde and leggy, stole most of the show with her flaming red dress and dance moves.

I have one gripe, regarding the placement of the microphones. Up close, the actors look strange with beige buds stuck to the top of their heads. However, I do understand the difficulty of concealing a microphone when dancing and not having it fall out.

There were the hit songs such as Hey Baby, Do You Love Me, Hungry Eyes and of course the show-stopping Time of My Life that had the audience whooping in delight.

All in all, the musical is an entertaining show not to be missed. Catch one of the last few shows before they leave!

Dirty Dancing runs until Jun 16. Visit www.marinabaysands.com for tickets.