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Grease (Plymouth - tour)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Dodgy morals, predictable storyline, iconic songs, familiar characters, misogyny and good not-so-clean-at-times fun – yep Grease is in the house.

We all know the 70s film and fill in the gaps that Jim Jacobs’ translation to stage inevitably creates but no one goes to see the classic musical to indulge in great theatre but rather for the sheer escapism and the songs.

And that’s what David Gilmore’s version delivers.

A competent young cast strut and posture their way through two hours of slick, entertaining spectacle and dynamic dance (choreographed by Arlene Phillips) with Emily Hawgood stand out as Cha Cha. And I loved the male dancers’ shower scene.

Danny Bayne won his place as Danny Zuko by popular TV vote and has been treading the Greased Lighting dashboards ever since. Clearly a superb award-winning dancer, he makes a good fist of the singing and acting too.

Of his fellow T-Birds, Richard Vincent is particularly entertaining as Doody with a great voice and guitar skills while Darren John hams it up as geeky Eugene.

DMC chart-topping Carina Gillespie is a fragile Sandy with a big voice (and a fab body carrying off the black skin-tight leggings look to perfection) while Kate Somerset and Lauren Hood ably conquer the familiar roles of Rizzo and Frenchie respectively.

Terry Parsons’ set is excellent – both simplicity itself but with attention to fine detail - and Mark Henderson’s lighting clever while pyrotechnics and devices add great pizzazz – how do they switch the beaten up side of the car to glittering bling?

It’s always great to have live music and the band is dynamic but the sound system just not right. Luckily we all know the words as often the singers are drowned by the music and the chorus becomes muffled – particularly in “Beauty School Drop-Out”. Some of the mics seem to deliver harsh side tones – hopefully all just first night hiccups.

A crowd-pleaser with a mixed but enthusiastic audience clapping and tapping their feet throughout, this delivered the feel-good factor.


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