Grease (2017 Tour) – Musical Theatre Review

Regularly voted one of the nation’s favourite musicals, it’s hard to imagine Grease not drawing huge crowds to any theatre. Full of all the feel-good hits you know (and some you might not) this production is no different. Set in the late Fifties, Grease follows the story of cool guy Danny (Tom Parker) and sweet Sandy (Danielle Hope) who have a summer romance, only to find themselves at the same high school after the long summer together. As rock and roll provides the soundtrack to their lives, the class of ‘59 try to navigate their way through dating, fitting in, and falling in love.

Although the moral core of the show is still questionable, the piece still seems to give audiences a warm, fuzzy feeling. And indeed, there’s plenty for a Grease-loving audience to enjoy here. The set is simple, but bold. There’s neon lights, pyrotechnics, playful and crowd-pleasing choreography and a rocking band onstage, led by the charming Griff Johnson, playing those songs we all know so well. The audience gleefully sing along, join in the hand jive and whisper their favourite lines.

However, it’s pleasant to note that some of the best moments of this production are the songs people might be less familiar with. Those Magic Changes is one of the stand out moments of the night, largely because of all the fun the ensemble have with it. The male dancers, clad only in towels, perform their singing-in-the-shower choreography with such sass it’s hard to take your eyes off them, whilst Ryan Heenan provides some beautiful vocals as Doody. In fact, all the ‘dream sequences’ are strong in this production; George Olney as the Teen Angel delivers an amusing and crowd-pleasing Beauty School Dropout, Greased Lightnin’ showcases a sparkly, light up car. These numbers are such good fun, that the scenes set more firmly in reality pale slightly in comparison, leaving important moments like the Dance Off or Rizzo’s pregnancy scare slightly flat.

Danielle Hope (she of ‘Over the Rainbow’ fame) proves a sweet and effective Sandy, and her voice carries beautifully throughout. The purity of her tone in Hopelessly Devoted to You is just gorgeous to listen to. Tom Parker has lots of fun as Danny, playing up to an appreciative audience in his lighter moments, but his overall performance is sadly a little lacking. The ensemble are what really make this production and are simply fantastic. They perform with a sparky energy and regularly draw the eye in group numbers and it is thanks to them the big showstoppers really work. They perform Arlene Phillips clever choreography with panache. Some great work too from Callum Evans as Eugene, the put-upon ‘nerd’ who seems to have the most fun of all, and Oliver Jacobson as Roger and Rosanna Harris as Jan whose rendition of Mooning is a masterclass in physical comedy.

Grease will always be a popular choice, and this production has a lot of fun with the big numbers. It’s bold, it’s bright and it’s flashy and will keep any Grease fan happy – a perfect end to those Summer Nights…

Grease
Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes Theatre
Mon 28th Aug – Sat 2nd Sept, 2017

Then continuing on tour. Details at -

http://www.greasethemusical.co.uk/tour-dates

© Carly Halse - Reviewed on Monday 28th August, 2017.

Author's review: 
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