It’s the end of a long week for us ladies. The four of us can almost taste the wine and cocktails.
There’s a sense of optimism when we pile into our friend’s car and head into town. Excitedly, we are going to see the latest craze…Sing-a-long Dirty Dancing! Tickets were purchased with a need to escape modern stresses: a break from full time work, full time parenting or a combination of the two. Between our relationships, family commitments and responsibilities, it’s hard to get together JUST GIRLS. Tonight, we will make the most of it.
We pre-drink in the neighbouring bar and consume copious amounts of dry white wine. We swap stories and updates about work, our families and the latest diets, “I’ve lost 5lb on Slimming World this week”. We congratulate our friend; it’s good to feel better about yourself. “I need to get back on it again” I confess, laughing as I greedily gulp more Pinot Grigio.
Heartily, we continue laughing about nothing in particular and totter across to the theatre, linking arms.
We order white wine. Then order a bit more for the interval – We wouldn’t want to be without a beverage or two now, would we? Time for a quick dash the ladies, which isn’t quick at all because the queue is inevitably long. We pass a line of women gossiping, applying make-up, checking reflections; it’s clear that we’re all determined to feel good tonight.
When we walk into the auditorium, there is a sea of pink. Cackles surround a woman in a white veil and glistening plastic silver tiara. Two women on the row in front of us are wearing T Shirts with the slogan ‘I carried a watermelon’. Although they do look very serious, so their choice of outfit amuses me. More like, I carried a watermelon and pulled my back doing so.
As we look around the tiered seating to find our places, I notice that we’re all different shapes and sizes but we’re one army of mothers, daughters and friends. The sing-a-long unites us all tonight.
Everyone receives a Party Pack from one of the ushers, the contents of which are required at particular points in the name of audience participation. We wonder how we will explain the free condom to our partners and husbands at home.
The hostess cracks a few jokes and gives us our instructions. Listening to her appears to be optional; many women continue to chat to their friends despite the hostess’ best efforts. Probably because they don’t have time to catch up properly in real life. I second that. The girls laugh at me for listening intently as if I am back at school. Admittedly, I am the group geek. I’m not ashamed. Ultimately, I’m desperate to know what the green balloon and cocktail umbrella are for. And yes, of course, I want to participate at the right time! Fancy-dressed ladies take to the stage, some dressed as watermelons and others dressed Baby. Two ladies carried their homemade papier mâché watermelons. Now that is effort. I’ve put on make-up and brushed my hair tonight and feel that I deserve an applause just for that. These DIY watermelons are a whole new level, baby.
The lights dim and the credits start. A collective “woooo” fills the room and the stresses of the week wash away. We recite the script line by line, often even before the characters do; all women were born knowing every line and lyric to Dirty Dancing. But if you forget, there’s no need to worry because the lyrics appear on the screen. Although, the wine might impair your vision ever so slightly.
The Lyceum is alive with tipsy, fun-loving ladies growing louder and wilder with each sip of their drink. We’re singing and dancing in the seats and aisles like our very own concert.
“Woooo” we scream for Johnny whenever he appears, to show our appreciation of the uber attractive, Mr Patrick Swayze.
We blow air into our green balloons in readiness for the watermelon line. We cradle them carefully and then pop them on cue, when Baby meets Johnny and he first teaches her some moves in the staff quarters. Some go off before the moment and some are right on time. Who cares anyway?
“Awwww” we utter in unison every time somebody says ‘Baby’. We all “Boooo” the villain – rotten Robbie who gets ‘Penny into trouble’; he thinks he’s superior to everyone.
I’ve never heard The Lyceum so loud! I love it. One or two ladies in the balcony seats are sssshing the noise, in attempt to listen to every little bit of dialogue. If they wanted to do that, they should’ve stayed at home – This is a party. And some of them have missed the memo. A few women grow tired of the sssssh-ers and one defiantly yells “Don’t come to sing-a-long Dirty Dancing, if you want it to be quiet!”.
“It’s not ssssh a-long Dirty Dancing”.
She and her friends fall about laughing. We’ve decided we like them; they’re speaking our language.
My friend makes friends with them “Ignore all the Ssh-a-longers” she tells us, confidently. “What’s up with enjoying ourselves?”
I miss a song while peeing, I blame the plastic pint pot of white wine – Cheaper to buy the bottle and share it, you see? I simply couldn’t wait. I’m glad that there are other tipsy women in there too. We’re bonding over each other’s outfits and wine.
“Nobody puts Baby in the corner”. It’s the penultimate moment before THAT dance. Cue the thunderous round of applause and more wooooo-ing an octave higher than before.
The room fills with a collective rendition of The Time of My Life. I’m sure we’re all imagining ourselves in the lift scene. Eyes closed, we’re all swaying. Could be the wine, could just be the dancing, who knows? The four of us put our arms around each other’s shoulders and sway in time with the music. We’re in a haze of wine, laughter and female bonding.
Home Sweet Home
After the show, we get back to our local pub and daringly order a jug of Woo Woo cocktail – which I’m sure nobody ever orders in the Hungry Horse public house chain. It’s the same pub we might have a midweek tea in with our families but tonight it’s the backdrop setting for Girl’s Night so we decidedly drink something fluorescent green, even though it looks like a cleaning chemical. Any sophistication we might have once had is abandoned by now and we drink the chemical concoction chatting in a booth as if we’re some sort of VIPs. We’re determined to make the most of the Friday night freedom. Mischievous glints appear in our eyes as we explore hypothetical ways to head back into town for more cocktails and dancing to the small hours. Yeah let’s do it – like old times.
In reality, the chemicals are enough and we succumb to tiredness and sudden hunger.
Instead, the evening ends with us devouring McDonalds’ and we walk home together. For us, it ends perfectly.