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Grease (Southampton)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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The 1978 film version of Grease is an absolute classic, loved and revered by millions around the World. This show therefore has something to live up to, and it certainly does, in spades!! Directed skilfully by David Gilmore this vibrant and timeless show emulates the passion and sheer escapism of the rock ‘n’ roll era and has a real ‘feel good’ factor.

Danny Bayne, who won ITV’s Grease is the Word in 2007, stars as the slick ‘Danny Zuko’, leader of the T-Birds. He played Danny in the West End for over two years and it really pays dividends. He explodes onto the stage, his charisma and enthusiasm maintaining a wonderful mesmeric appeal throughout.

Carina Gillespie plays the sweet natured, naive Sandy to great effect. Delicate in stature but certainly not in character, she shines in this boy-meets-girl predictable storyline that oozes the energy of youth, greased hair and unadulterated fun.

Other cast members worthy of special mention are Richard Vincent who shines as ‘Doody’. His clarity of voice and sheer magnetism woos both the girls in the show and the audience alike. Kate Somerset How plays the big, edgy character of ‘Rizzo’. She has a huge presence on the stage and her portrayal of the ‘bad girl’ is comically believable. Robin Cousins guests stars as Teen Angel. Who knew he had such a great voice? A real revelation!

Highlights include ‘Mooning’, a great duet between Roger and Jan (Derek Andrews and Laura Wilson) and ‘It’s Raining on Prom Night’ a poignant and haunting duet starring Sandy and Jan.

The young and energetic ensemble is impressive in both song and dance, never missing an opportunity to shine in their individual roles. The big dance numbers, brilliantly choreographed by Arlene Philips pulsate with sheer fervour and dynamism transporting you back to the jive and hip hop era. I particularly enjoyed ‘Greased Lightnin’ and ‘Those Magic Changes’ both of which are perfectly executed by the boys of the cast.

The special effects and inspired lighting design add to the electric atmosphere and the orchestra, superbly directed by Gareth Williams executes the toe tapping, show stopping score to perfection, if a little too loudly in places!


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