I'm never sure what to expect for those stage shows that are constructed from popular movies so I generally just go in to them hoping for a good time. I did have a good time at Dirty Dancing, recently presented by Broadway Across Canada at the Jubilee Auditorium, but I think that is primarily because I am a child of the 80's. I don't mean that I was born in the 80's, I mean that I was a teenager/young adult then and as a result I probably have seen the movie Dirty Dancing upwards of 10 times. The stage show really tried to capture the movie - particularly the iconic moments. It does that well. The dance montages, the classic lines ("I carried a watermelon." and "Nobody puts Baby in the corner.") and of course The Lift and Final Dance - those were all there. But there were a lot of unremembered moments from the movie, probably more than the stage show needed. When moving mediums I think they needed to consider that a play/musical is just different and you can cut scenes and focus the journey. What plays out in a film doesn't always work onstage. And the music issue.... Well, all the songs are there (most of them) but they are more like a soundtrack or score, not really connected to the narrative. None of the characters actually sing as characters wanting or needing things so one wonders if its purpose was just to recreate the movie onstage, why not just re-watch the movie?
I don't want to say it wasn't fun - it was, and I laughed and clapped at the moments that I remembered because they got a lot of them right. Christopher Tierney and Gillian Abbott are perfect for Johnny and Baby and I thought they had good chemistry. There are some flatter performances in the ensemble, but the dancing is wonderful and they were all selling it and were very generous. It's just... It's just that it wasn't necessary and a great script for a film doesn't always work onstage.