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I loved this show when it first opened in the West End in 2006.

So much so that, despite its shortcomings, I could happily have sat through it all over again the moment it finished.

But this recast revival is sadly lacking in the vital ingredient which, in the 1987 film too, turned Eleanor Bergstein’s mediocre script and storyline into a huge hit – sex appeal.

Sorry to be cruel, but although he can dance, Paul-Michael Jones’ blue-collar dance instructor Johnny Castle  can’t even begin to compete with the late Patrick Swayze in the movie (okay, I know that would be  a tough call, but still) or his predecessor on stage  - and it really, really matters.

So although all the set numbers of this rites of passage musical are nicely recreated – the lift (practised in a projected river), Baby rescued from the corner - the chemistry just isn’t there.

Jill Winternitz makes a likeable, pretty (rather too pretty) doctor’s daughter Baby, falling for Johnny’s mambo moves despite her serious outlook.

But it’s left to Charlotte Gooch’s knocked-up Penny, with her high kicks and raunchy dancing, to remind you just why, in previous incarnations,  this '60s holiday romance, though not perhaps, “The Time of My Life,” proved such a great night out.

£26.50+. Piccadilly Theatre,
Denman Street, W1D 7DY

Tube | Piccadilly


Photo: Alastair Muir


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