Nelson Youth Theatre Company puts on a lively rendition of a well-loved classic. Ever irreverent, it is great to see actual high school students bringing youth to Grease‘s bright array of characters, giving the show the boost of cheeky childishness that other productions lack.
A standout is Rizzo, portrayed expertly by Mackenzie Gardner who fits the role so well it is as though Stockard Channing stepped straight off the screen and into a time machine. With a beautiful powerhouse voice and enough attitude to fill an empty stage, Gardner nails her solos and keeps the rest of the cast captivated and energised throughout.
Another well-appreciated injection of energy that greatly benefits the whole show is Brooklyn Saunders’ Frenchy, who is wholly devoted to her character and never breaks for a moment. Her outrageous facial expressions and giggles are a welcome constant when some of the other background acting falls short.
The classic group numbers like ‘Born to Hand Jive’ and ‘Greased Lightning’ are performed with plenty of spirit and have the audience clapping and grooving along. The great choreography and spot-on costumes make this show entertaining to watch, and make up for the occasional moments when energy drops or the attention of the chorus strays. This production thrives in scenes where there is plenty going on and manages fairly well to keep the pace rolling throughout.
Sandy (Yasmina Coe) and Danny (Adam Stewart) capture the innocence of students really nicely, especially with their tender declaration to not let anyone come between them. They manage to convincingly appear as confused kids caught up in high school tribulations like love and popularity in a way that the adult actors in the film never could.
This is definitely a great family watch or just one for those who would like to drift back to high school for a few hours.
Greece is on at TheSpace Triplex – Big (Venue 38)
Image: Richard Carruthers