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Grease (tour - Southend, Cliffs Pavilion)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The girls rather fancy the boys, the boys lust after the girls – and really prefer things which go fast on four wheels. There’s a peculiar sort of innocence about Grease as it steps out so briskly on its current tour – but then, it’s set in the 1950s, and that was an altogether different time.

New to the cast is Rhydian Roberts as the Teen Angel; he doesn’t appear until the second half and basically then only for the sequence in which beauty-school drop-out Frenchy (Lauren Hood) realises that putting in some effort might pay long-term dividends. He sings extremely well and has a fine stage presence.

Repeating their roles from early in the tour are Carina Gillespie as a rather butter-wouldn’t-melt Sandy and Danny Byrne as the boy of her dreams (another character who needs a brisk reality check), Danny. Kate Somerset Howe’s Rizzzo is a good characterisation, though her should-be show-stopper seemed lacklustre.

As far as other members of the ensemble are concerned, no-one watching them throwing everything into both the dances and the songs would know that these young performers had been on the road with the show for several months. They come over as though fresh to it all, with a wonderful exuberance.


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