Dirty Dancing - Cliffs Pavilion THERE are no big surprises in the stage adaptation of Dirty Dancing - and that's just what makes it such a huge success.

It does exactly what it says on the tin - re-tells the classic tale, almost word for word, and scene for scene.

You can almost hear the audience mumbling their favourite lines and getting ready for what they know is about to happen - it is like watching the film in an extreme 4d experience.

And even from the pretty close position I had, Kira Malou really did look like Baby and while Michael O'Reilly is not quite a dead ringer for Patrick Swayze he made for quite the brooding Johnny Castle.

Together the pair set the room alight as they put together a dance performance and, as we all surely know by now, fall in love.

The audience could barely contain it's delight and having the live action version of it means that even a slight technical snafu such as a spalsh in the water scene not quite happening where it should have, makes the experience oddly better.

We are all part of it - we are almost sitting on the same table as Baby and her family when Johnny swaggers in at the end and delivers his classic line....you know the one.

But what I also particularly love about this stage production is the fact they have increased the social awareness of the major changes happening in that era in the early '60s, which is not really dwelt on too much in the film and the inclusion of music and dance routines which showcase the lesser characters.

Most of the, top notch, singing is delivered by Sian Gentle-Green, as new character Elizabeth, and Alex Wheeler as Billy, and a superb ensemble cast.

The cast thanked the audience at the end, which was a nice touch, as well as special guest Eleanor Bergstein who is the woman we have to thank for the Dirty Dancing story in the first place.

I don't think it is a tale which is going to fall out of favour with the viewing public any time soon.

* Dirty Dancing is at the Cliffs Pavilion until Saturday November 3. Contact the Box office for tickets on 01702 351135 or book online at www.southendtheatres.org.uk