Thursday, 25 June 2015

Dirty Dancing UK Tour- Theatre Royal Plymouth | Backstage and Review | LittleEllieMae

As a typical teenage girl, Dirty Dancing is one of my all time favourite films; Its filled to the brim with fantastic songs, amazingly quote- worthy lines, and some super sexy dancing from a great cast. 

When I heard that the UK tour of the show was coming to the Theatre Royal Plymouth, I knew I had to check it out!

Dirty Dancing is the unexpected love story between seventeen year old, Frances 'Baby' Houseman, and the cool, rebellious dancer Johnny Castle at Kellerman's family summer camp. The couple overcome trials and tribulations but finally have the time of their life, performing the special final dance of the season and winning each other's hearts. 

 I was kindly invited backstage by the Theatre Royal Plymouth to have a look at the wardrobe, set and meet some of the cast and crew of the Dirty Dancing UK Tour! 

The costumes from the film are so iconic. We all know and love Baby's signature tied blouse and denim shorts, the pink dress and Penny's gorgeous red tango dress. Before the show, I had the chance to have a look at these amazing costumes which were all so true to the film's adaptation. They all followed an early 1960s theme, with high waists, midi lengths and gorgeous florals. 

My favourite outfit in particular was the classic pink dress that Baby wears during the famous 'Time Of My Life' routine at the end of the show. Its the most expensive costume of the show, made from gorgeous pink silk which flows gorgeously whilst Baby dances and is Jessie Hart's (who plays the role of Baby) favourite costume of the show too. This is closely followed by the stunning bright red, bejeweled dress that Penny wears during her dance routines; With a structured, beaded low V bodice and gorgeously flowing satin skirt in a striking red colour- its the dream dress for any girl! Jessie loves the 60s feel of the costumes, and says that she especially likes the flattering high- waisted style of the clothes.

Lewis Kirk, who plays the role of Johnny Castle, has a wardrobe for the performance that mainly consists of monochrome t-shirts, jeans, and suits to match his character's cool, slick persona. Lewis previously played within the ensemble of the previous UK tour so had the chance to experience the floral shirts of the other characters as well as his new array of Johnny costumes now. He said that his costumes aren't too different from his every day casual style, although the bootleg cut of the jeans and Cuban heeled shoes are something he had to get used to! 

I found it really interesting to talk to the backstage crew too; I was shown how the costumes are made so that they are able to be constantly altered- they have no lining or finished seams. Although the costumes for the show are heavily inspired by vintage items, they had to be specially made rather than re-using vintage pieces as they wouldn't be able to be altered as easily as they'd need to be. All of the items are stored in standing wardrobes that are wheeled into the large tour vans and transported from city to city on the tour. 

I was also lucky enough to have a mini dance lesson with Lewis who plays Johnny, who taught me some basic dance steps to a routine. "Please don't judge me, I don't dance!!" was my initial reaction, but I had so much fun and Lewis was a very lovely and patient teacher (more so than his character of Johnny!). 

Jessie Hart, Lewis Kirk and I on the Lyric Stage at Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Strictly Come Dancing, here I come..!

After my dance lesson, I sat down with Jessie (Baby) and Lewis (Johnny) to talk to them more about the show. Being such a popular and iconic film, both actors agreed that they felt some pressure to stay completely true to the characters (which I think they did SO well!) because people are so invested in it, but at the same time they like to put their own twist on the roles to make it somewhat more interesting. Furthermore, Jessie feels as though she can completely relate to her character as she has a very similar personality, as well as Lewis who admits he has a rebellious side just like Johnny! The two had impeccable chemistry on stage which obviously stemmed from their intense training before the tour started and matches the characters' relationship perfectly. 

In the evening I had the chance to watch the show itself. It was spectacular. Honestly, it is everything you would want in a show of this calibre, based on the world- renowned film. It is so true to the film, so don't worry about any of your favourite parts being missed out! My favourite scene is when Johnny and Baby lip sync to 'Love Is Strange' ( Come ere lover boyyy! *air guitar*) which was done so well, I was so pleased! The acting is really great, every member of the cast embrace their characters perfectly- there is true chemistry between them. My favourite thing about the show was of course, the dancing; It was mind-blowingly good. In particular the characters of Johnny (Lewis Kirk) and Penny (understudy: Carlie Milner) were absolutely amazing, they perfected every move so professionally yet effortlessly. I was out of breath just watching them! 

The dancing, acting, music, awesome LED light filled set, costumes and props brought together a slick, fun- filled show which left a huge smile on my face! It is such a great night out and will leave you wanting to become a  professional dancer, for sure (gosh, I wish I could dance like them!!)

Thanks to the Dirty Dancing UK Tour cast and crew as well as the Theatre Royal Plymouth for inviting me along for this absolutely awesome experience!  

Dirty Dancing is showing at the Theatre Royal Plymouth until Saturday 4th July 2015 but will continue touring the rest of the country throughout the year, so make sure you catch it when you can- its a show that you definitely won't want to miss! 

Have you seen Dirty Dancing? What did you think?! Let me know by commenting below or tweeting me @LittleEllieMae :)

Have a great day!

Ellie Mae x

Disclaimer: Thanks to the Theatre Royal Plymouth and Dirty Dancing UK Tour for inviting me backstage and to the show. However, all opinions and views are my own. Photo credit to Tristram Kenton. 


  1. I went watching it back in April when it came to Liverpool, and thought it was fantastic! The cast were brilliant and i had such a great evening!
    Natalie xx

    1. Oh that's awesome! So glad you liked it too! :) Its a great show x

  2. What a great post, Ellie! Dirty Dancing is one of my all-time favourite films and I finally saw the musical for my 16th birthday last year and absolutely loved it!
    Best Wishes,
    The Hat Hippie xx

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