THAT lift, those quotes and an endless soundtrack of smash hits - Dirty Dancing is one of life’s guilty pleasures.

Since its release in 1987, the film made famous by none other than Patrick Swayze has been unwavering in its popularity.

It was no great surprise then to see hoards of mostly women and a handful of husbands and partners-in-tow pack into The Sage Gateshead for the stage adaption’s North-East opening night on Saturday.

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage is everything the film is and more.

The audience was transported to idyllic, 1960s America for the teenage stuff-of-dreams vacation of a lifetime.

Through pack-a-punch song, acrobatic dance and extra-cheesy word, we were swept along on the eyebrow-raising romance between the young but wise Baby and tortured, artistic yet humourless Johnny.

Bearing an almost uncanny resemblance to their on-screen counterparts, the leading performers had us whooping and cheering at every hot and steamy turn.

So too did the cast of backing dancers and singers whose voices and limbs were stretched to their limits.

There were also plenty of laughs courtesy of comical use of staging and audience participation – including dancing in the seats and aisles to finish.

Watching Dirty Dancing in the post #MeToo world can feel a little uncomfortable but for most the almost implausible story of these ill-fitting lovebirds remains a cult classic with an unashamed following.

It is therefore best enjoyed – for audience and probably performers alike – with one’s tongue planted firmly in one’s cheek.

It is on at The Sage Gateshead until January 25.

Flossie Mainwaring-Taylor