REVIEW: Dirty Dancing, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until Saturday, June 28.

The time of our lives? Well, maybe not quite. A rather sparse early-week audience made the cast work hard for their money, and there were times when the show didn’t quite straddle the gap between stage and auditorium.

For too many characters, poor miking and an overworked American accent was a combination which led to total incomprehensibility. “What did he just say?” was the muttered response on a night when you had to strain to understand even the simplest of stories.

But at least the leads were largely exempt, Roseanna Frascona and Gareth Bailey equally impressive as Babe and Johnny in this tale of forbidden love in an early 1960s holiday resort.

Johnny just wants to dance; Babe just wants to dance with him as they muddle their way through various traumas, including paternal conflict and pregnancy/abortion on the side.

With the struggle to make out what was being said, there was a slight feeling of simply waiting for the big scene that was always going to send us home happy – and it duly did.

But in truth, Monday night’s performance hadn’t sparkled quite as much as we’d all hoped.

Phil Hewitt