GREASE touring till 31 March

GREASE Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey
Runs: 2h 20m, one interval
Birmingham New Alexandra till 31 December, Touring till 31 March

Review: Rod Dungate 7 December 2011-12-08

Committed to giving us what we want – a real pick-me-up

GREASE is all-round, all-encompassing feel–good factor.

Set in the 50s, this college story of ‘boy meets girl and it nearly doesn’t work but it all comes right in the end’ is a loosely woven story that’s really an excuse to join together a host of numbers to get your feet tapping and your hands jiving. I should think it’s hardly ever off the road, but here it is, at the Alexandra in Birmingham for Christmas, bright, sharp, highly energised and with a group of singers and dancers committed to giving us a good time.

The show is at its best in the big ensemble numbers. Early on GREASE IS THE WORD is sure to get you going and mighty impressive too are the boys in GREASED LIGHTNING. Closing the first half is the fabulous WE GO TOGETHER – with some sharp and witty choreography, too.

There’s a lot of wit in Arlene Phillips’s choreography, and there’s a lot of skill among the performers. High spot is the college jive competition opening the second half, and incorporating a thrilling routine from competition winners Danny and Cha Cha (Danny Bayne and Sophie Zucchini.) Bayne creates a fine singing, dancing and acting lead as Danny. Carina Gillespie’s Sandy is quietly proper but manages not to disappear among her louder counterparts – and is deliciously reborn at the end. Taking other performing honours are a sultry and moody Rizzo (Kate Somerset How) and Darren John’s touchingly comic Eugene. And I did so love watching Miss Lynch dancing at the end (Nancy Hill.)

But the stars are really the cast and musicians as a whole. I’m pleased to say they all live happily ever after and learn, with great aplomb, to do dirty dancing.

Danny: Danny Bayne
Sandy: Carina Gillespie
Kenickie Ricky Roas
Rizzo: Kate Somerset How
Vince Fontaine: Jason Capewell
Teen Angel: Robn Cousins
Frenchy: Lauren Stroud
Jan: Laura Wilson
Marty: Lois Urwin
Doody: Richard Vincent
Roger: Derek Andrews
Sonny: Josh Dever
Patty: Sammy Kelly
Eugene: Darren John
Miss Lunch: Nancy Hill
Cha Cha: Sophie Zucchini
Peggy: Alice Mogg
Lou-Anne: Olivia Fines
Penny: Holly Adams
Molly: Tarryn Gee
Brad: Llandyll Gove
Alberto: Albey Brookes
Jake: Matthew Jeans
Maggy-Mae: Natalie Marie Dignam
Johnny: Tyman Boatwright

Directed by: David Gilmore
Musical Staging and Choreography: Arlene Phillips
Re-Created by: Stori James
Set Design: Terry Parsons
Costume Design: Andreane Neofitou
Lighting Design: Mark Henderson
Sound Design: Bobby Aitken
Orchestrations: Chris Egan
Musical Supervisor and New Musical Arrangements: Mike Dixon

2011-12-08 20:47:33

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