The main thing that strikes you of this production of Grease is how different it is to the film. Director Nikolai Foster takes his lead for this version firmly from the stage show and showcases the gritty downtown Chicago rather than the ‘candyfloss, rosetinted, cartoony approach of Americana’ of the film. But as the opening strains of ‘Grease is the Word’ start up accompanied by the fantastic choreography from Arlene Phillips you know there will be familiarity.
While the storyline is generally the same, Danny and Sandy meet in the summer, reunite at school and realise they need to change their whole personality to get the girl/guy, the slightly different order of songs, additions of new songs from the original show such as ‘Those Magic Changes’, ‘Mooning’ and ‘Freddy My Love’, mean that some of the smaller cast members – often overlooked – get their spotlight moment.
Dan Partridge and Martha Kirby shine as Danny and Sandy (once you get over Sandy not being blonde!) and Martha’s version of ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ was sung with feeling and emotion. Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky shone as the sassy Rizzo and Eloise Davies got the spirit of Frenchie perfectly.
I would have loved to be able to review Peter Andre as Teen Angel but sadly he is only doing limited shows and my viewing wasn’t one of them. However Darren Bennett was a fantastic replacement playing this and his secondary role as Vince Fontaine.
Grease is such a feel good night out and highly recommended by me. It’s on until the weekend so there’s still time if you move like Greased Lightening!
Grease runs at Curve until Saturday 14 September. Peter Andrew stars in performances from Tuesday 10. Limited tickets are available from the Curve website.
Review by Adele Pascale.