- December 13, 2017
I will immediately come clean and say that Grease is not my favourite show, I dislike the moral bankruptcy of the story – take a nice girl and turn her to the bad – but that’s just me. There is no doubt though that this particular production is a crowd pleaser and here is why. Grease is packed from start to finish with brilliant songs, really brilliant sing-a-long numbers that we all know. It has nostalgia, an iconic age some of us remember and one that gave voice to a new world of pop and rock’n’roll, so you have foot tapping too. But this is as nothing if you do not have a cast that can deliver it in all its heart and glory – and this company certainly can, from the brilliant dance numbers and great vocal arrangements, a ripping band pumping out the hits and a set of principals who for the most part get it absolutely right. Tom Parker has the required charisma and sex appeal as Danny, Danielle Hope is sugary sweet as Sandy until the big reveal in the final scenes and George Olney’s teen angel is disturbingly brilliant in what is the most spectacular number of the whole production. What starts out looking like a rather lame set actually keeps on delivering and in the end is a triumph. My only real wish, beyond a better moral story, would be that the very talented Louisa Lytton’s Rizzo was tougher from the start, a minor gripe because she has a lovely voice and great presence (so I lay that one at the director’s feet).
As festive shows go it works though, on every level, and the audience, some of who were prosecco fuelled from the get go, lapped it up, a few rather too much by singing along in the solo numbers to no great effect. Join in with the big ensemble numbers if you must, but give the talented and energetic cast a chance to really show you what they can do, it is after all, about them and not you. And maybe, just maybe, there is room for an updated sequel in which a bad girl goes to a school with a gang of nice kids who turn her to the good? Well it’s an idea.
Theatre Royal Brighton