This show has wow factor

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Sometimes a smash-hit film does not transfer easily to the stage, writes John Shawcroft.

Usually an established run on Broadway or in the West End precedes the screen version.

But Dirty Dancing, the hugely successful 1987 vehicle for Patrick Swayze, is a spectacular exception.

It enjoyed an acclaimed run in London and now is justifiably packing them in on its first-ever national tour.

Quite simply, this show is a wow.

Nottingham’s Theatre Royal audiences are loving every minute of it and you could almost argue that it is an improvement on the film.

The theatre gives three-dimensional immediacy, with slick choreography and some nifty and imaginative scene changes, involving backdrops and also the use of the revolving stage.

All the highlights - the water melon, the Kellerman’s band morphing from Cole Porter in the lounge to a superb Do You Love Me? in the staff quarters – and, of course, the iconic lift - are all here.

But there’s much more as the show works its way through more than 40 numbers with a charming mix of vocals and dance.

The talented cast contains no star names, although James Coombes as Baby’s father has an impressive CV.

But the leads are a delight, Paul-Michael Jones, with the look of a young Swayze as a Johnny Castle who finds there’s much more to Baby (Jill Winternitz) than meets the eye.

It is easy to forget just how emotional and moving the story is.

Shows of this kind are lively and uplifting and there’s plenty to excite the audience.

But there are times when the action unfolds in total silence through tender love scenes and moments of drama.

Certainly nobody will be put in the corner in this offering.

Dirty Dancing is at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham until Saturday March 2.

Tickets to see it range from £20-£48.50.

Call the box office at the Royal Centre for more details on 0115 989 5555.

n There are plenty of upcoming treats over the next few months in the latest season at the Theatre Royal Nottingham.

The Rambert Dance Company can be seen from March 6-8, followed by the return of Opera North from March 19-23.

They will be performing Otello by Verdi, Mozart’s La Clemenza Di Tito, Francis Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine and Henry Purcell’s Dido And Aeneas.

The RSC present a production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale from March 26-30, starring Tara Fitzgerald, and ballet fans will enjoy Matthew Bourne’s take on The Sleeping Beauty, from April 2-6.

Road Dahl’s James And The Giant Peach appears in an adaptation by David Wood, from April 10-14, followed by the return of Willy Russell’s evergreen musical Blood Brothers, from April 16-20.

There’s also Michael Frayn’s award-winning backstage comedy Noises Off, from April 29-May 4.