Book, Music and Lyrics: Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.
Director: Nikolai Foster
After 50 years of being performed in theatres around the world, Grease is definitely still the word! The show, made famous by the movie adaptation starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, premiered on stage seven years prior to the movie release at the Kingston Mines Theatre in Chicago. The story, about ten teenagers all dealing with the different things life throws at them, is set in the 1950s, the era of rock and roll! With such well-known, feel-good, musical numbers, it is no wonder that Grease has stood the test of time and is still drawing in massive audiences.
If you are expecting to see a shy, timid Sandy Dumbrowki (you may remember her as Sandy Olsson in the film!) then you won’t find it here! Ellie Kingdon brings an unexpected attitude to the character – showing Sandy to be a lot more feisty and fiery than the movie has you believe! Due to the way the character is portrayed the transformation at the end doesn’t have quite the same impact! Kingdon’s vocals are impressive though and her rendition of Hopelessly Devoted To You was a big hit with the audience.
Dan Partridge brings Danny Zuko, the leader of the Burger Palace Boys (rather than the notorious T Birds) to life, with just the right amount of cockiness and swagger. The chemistry between Partridge and Kingdon didn’t seem quite right, but this may be due to the fiery portrayal of Sandy.
The audience’s biggest reaction came at the arrival on stage of Vince Fontaine / Teen Angel, played by Peter Andre. Sometimes the casting of a known celebrity can disappoint, but Andre held his own throughout and was a big hit! He oozes charisma and has the audience in the palm of his hand! The most surprising thing about Andre is he can actually sing! His vocals are great and he also shows he can still move when performing Hand Jive!
While the lead characters are always the ones who get the loudest applause, there are several others in this production who shine! Marianna Neofitou is perfectly cast as Frenchy and you feel drawn to her whenever she is on stage. The same can be said of Alex Christian who plays Doody. A personal highlight comes in Act Two when Christian performs a rendition of Those Magic Changes with just a guitar. It was simple and it was brilliant!
The company numbers throughout the show are everything you would hope they would be and choreographer Arlene Phillips creates a buzz with the high-energy dance routines. The show ends with a medley of numbers which is led by Andre and has the whole audience up on their feet dancing! If you are looking to see a show that leaves you feeling good then this is the one that you want!
Runs until Saturday 20 November 2021.