GREASE to 4 September 2010.


book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.

Piccadilly Theatre, Denman Street , London, W1D 7DY To 4 September 2010.
Mon-Thu; Sat 7.30pm Fri 8.30 pm Mat Fri 5.30pm Sat 3pm.
Runs 2hr 30 min One interval.

TICKETS: 0844 412 6666.
Review: Geoff Ambler 9 August 2007.

Two lacklustre leads and an unimaginative rehashed revival still had the audience in raptures.
This show, once a long running stalwart of the West End, has only been missing for a couple of years. Now it’s back and following the tried and tested TV phone-in audition route, which should ensure an audience eager to reap what it has sowed.

The show opens with the MD Richard Beadle chasing a Best Support in a Musical award, as he leaps around the ledge which he and his band perch on. This exuberance permeates throughout the show, even where some finesse might have been more appropriate, but this is not a show for finesse. Grease is more a caricature of its former self, but with its “good, loud night out” TV audience it will get away with being brash for a while. Indeed the audience cheered every song’s opening bars and lavished applause, to excess.

Behind all these TV/theatre shows is always a professional and experienced ensemble, hard working, skilled and enjoying some long term employment. Grease is no different. Throughout the show they out-act, sing and dance their leads and an early highlight of the show appears in “Those Magic Changes” from Lee Martin as Doody, amply supported by some high camp staging, hilarious choreography and perfect relief from the mish-mash of Summer Nights. Similarly ‘Mooning’ with Richard Hardwick and Laurie Searth (Roger and Jan) provides more comic delights. Jayde Westaby is a delightfully moody, brazen Rizzo and ‘There Are Worse Things I Can Do’ emphasises her abundance of musical theatre talents.

The talent contest winners were Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden as Danny and Sandy. While they both have a history of official schooling and various levels of experience they seemed uneasy in these major roles and I did not once believe they were even remotely interested in each other. I have little doubt that once the glare of the media spotlight has moved on, they will settle into a more relaxed performance. However, McFadden shrilly belts-out everything at top volume and still the audience cheered. Grease is one of a few shows that benefit from having all its music already in the heads of the audience on their way in to the show, feel-good tunes full of youthful energy, fun and memories.

Danny Zuko: Danny Bayne.
Sandy Dumbrowski: Susan McFadden.
Kenickie: Sean Mulligan.
Rizzo: Jayde Westaby.
Doody: Lee Martin.
Roger: Richard Hardwick.
Sonny: Bennett Andrews.
Frenchy: Alana Phillips.
Jan: Laurie Scarth.
Marty: Charlie Cameron.
Vince/Teen Angel: Jason Capewell.
Eugene: Tim Newman.
Patty: Siobhan Dillon.
Miss Lynch: Marie Daly.
Cha Cha: Olivia Kate Ward.
Sammy: Matthew Croke.
Calvin: Simon Hardwick.
Tommy: Ben Harris.
Brad: James Rees.
Chad: Richard Peakman.
Biff: Paul Riddiford.
Donna-Sue: Danielle Crockford.
Vivienne: Amy Jenkins.
Susie-May: Helen Morris.
Ruby: Rachel Muldoon.
Casey: Charlotte Bull.
Dot: Kirsty McDonald.

Director: David Gilmore.
Designer: Terry Parsons.
Lighting: Mark Henderson.
Sound: Bobby Aitken.
Musical Staging/Choreography: Arlene Phillips.
Re-created by: Stori James.
Orchestrations: Larry Wilcox, Chris Egan.
Costume: Andreane Neofitou.

2007-08-13 07:16:13

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