• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Grease! – Review

ByEvie Fisher

Oct 2, 2021
The male leads of Grease the musical dancing on stage, around a car. They are all dressed in fifties style, with leather jackets and slicked back hair.

Nikolai Foster’s cheerful and upbeat production of Grease! celebrates the long overdue return of musical theatre in the best way possible. From the offset, the production demands your attention with its catchy songs and energetic cast. In a nutshell, Grease! is a fun-filled, lively night of music and dance, with an incredible selection of young talented actors. 

As expected, the most enduring elements are the musical numbers, songs such as ‘Grease Lightning’ and ‘You’re the One That I Want’ are brought to life by this gifted cast. The ‘Grease Megamix’, following the final bows, grants audience members the opportunity to stand up, sing along, and dance. This is welcomed fondly, with the audience dancing alongside the cast in a moment of pure musical bliss after a long period of darkness for the industry. 

However, extra additions to the setlist, such as ‘Tattoo song’, which is sung by Danny and the T-birds while contemplating matching tattoos, adds very little to the performance and storyline. These additions compared to Grease!’s iconic numbers do not equate and thus could be described as forgettable. 

Nevertheless, the impressive sets place audiences right in the heart of a 1950s high school with easily identifiable scenes such as the diner and school gymnasium. Moreover, the costume designer succeeds in recreating the well-known Pink Ladies and T-birds iconic fashion. 

While the production is entertaining and filled with laughter, it has an element of predictability about it. The touring production makes few attempts to deviate from the already known and loved depiction of Grease!. The production keeps close to the original script and the cast interprets their characters as any audience member would expect. Nonetheless, any Grease! fans would leave the theatre effervescent with joy following a performance bringing to life the heart of such a well-loved musical. 

While Peter Andre may have been favorably advertised, his performance risks transgressing into exaggerated and cringy. It can easily be overlooked for standout performances from younger and less experienced cast members, such as Dan Partridge (Danny Zuko) and Inez Budd (Marty). Partridge successfully brings the sensuous and dashing aura expected of any Danny Zuko to the stage, along with a demonstration of faultless vocals and incredible dance skills. He triumphantly captures the audience, making it difficult to avert your gaze from him when on stage. Likewise, Budd brings to life a character who is often overshadowed by the better known Rizzo and Sandy. Budd’s capturing stage presence and stunning rendition of ‘Freddie My Love’ remains a highlight of Foster’s charming production. A deserving spotlight should also be placed on Josh Barnett (Roger) and Maeve Byrne (Jan) who despite being given the comedic role, generate plenty of laughs with their duet ‘Mooning’, demonstrating an incredible level of singing, dancing and acting ability.

 All things considered, Grease! can be summed up in one word: fun. Foster presents audiences with a production that will have you leaving the theatre with a huge grin on your face, desperate to go and listen to the soundtrack. It is a fantastic celebration of theatricality and a worthy welcome back to the theatre after a long year of absence. 

Image credit: Sean Ebsworth Barnes