Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Time Of My Life?

Last week’s theatrefest concluded with a corker. Yes, it had to happen at some point – I went to see the Dirty Dancing musical at the Aldwych Theatre. We’d booked tickets months in advance (as had everyone else – the place was rammed and there were, literally, coachloads of people pumping into the auditorium). I met with Laura, Caroline, Ann and Sarah B for a hasty bite beforehand, before taking our seats in the upper circle.

The production was the oddest thing, a scene by scene re-enactment of the film, every snippet of dialogue reproduced, every corny montage re-created (including the bit with the log and the bit with the watermelons and the bit with the lake – you get the picture). There had been barely any attempt to re-imagine it as a musical in any real sense, instead it worked more along the lines of a porn movie, only with a two hour build to the money shot: “No-one puts baby in the corner!” – delivered with as much emotional resonance as the aforementioned log, by the well-muscled but distinctly wooden Patrick Swayze stand-in.

Laura, bless her, loved every cheesy minute of it and I’d forgotten how nice it can be to go to the theatre with a group of friends. (It also provided another reminder of how distanced the whole press night hoopla can be from the real post-opening night experience of going to the theatre; Michael Billington very rarely shouts at the leading man to get his kit off.)