Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life - Tanya MacNaughton

DIRTY Danc­ing is a mem­ber of the iconic film club where you can not imag­ine any­one but Pa­trick Swayze and Jen­nifer Grey as Johnny Castle and Frances ‘Baby’ House­man.

So I re­mem­ber feel­ing trep­i­da­tion head­ing in to see the orig­i­nal Aus­tralian stage show of Dirty Danc­ing 10 years ago, star­ring Josef Brown and Kym Valen­tine.

But this was quickly proved un­war­ranted as the au­di­ence was swept into the sum­mer of 1963 when the House­mans went to Keller­man’s.

I was sim­i­larly hes­i­tant last Thurs­day when the show re­turned to Crown Theatre Perth, this time won­der­ing if

leads Kurt Phelan and Kirby Burgess could ri­val their stage show pre­de­ces­sors. Thank­fully, they could.

Burgess was Baby, a world away from Grease’s Rizzo which is how Perth au­di­ences saw her last year, while Phelan had the hips of Johnny Castle and was not afraid to use them with a whole lot of swag­ger.

So You Think You Can Dance (Aus­tralia sea­son 4) con­tes­tant Mad­die Peat has legs for days and moved them with pre­ci­sion as Penny John­son, of­ten leav­ing the au­di­ence fear­ing she would knock her­self out with those high kicks.

Dirty Danc­ing is not your tra­di­tional mu­si­cal and is in fact care­fully billed as The Clas­sic Story On Stage, so there are few op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pe­ri­ence a song belted out in style.

But when it was by Aus­tralia’s Got Tal­ent tenor Mark Vin­cent (play­ing Billy Kostecki) dur­ing In the Still of the Night and (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, the crowd went wild for good rea­son.

Tech­nol­ogy has come a long way in 10 years and the re­volv­ing stage has been en­hanced by dig­i­tal pro­jec­tions and beach house shut­ter screens to set the mood and pace.

All the favourite songs are there, in­clud­ing Hun­gry Eyes, Love is Strange and Do You Love Me?, although She’s Like the Wind is rel­e­gated to a dis­ap­point­ing shorter in­stru­men­tal ver­sion.

It was a vo­cal crowd on open­ing night watch­ing as Baby car­ried a wa­ter­melon and an­tic­i­pat­ing all their favourite lines, which reached fever-pitch as it was de­clared that no­body puts Baby in the cor­ner.

View our Dirty Danc­ing photo gallery at­mu­nity

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

Kurt Phelan and Kirby Burgess.

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