We all know the story ‘cool’: Danny Zuko spends his summer falling in love with prim and proper Sandy at the beach, thinking it’s only a summer fling. She then turns up at his school and he’s embarrassed to be seen with her; so he pretends he doesn’t care. Cue lots of singing and meeting in secret until Sandy decides. ‘Hey I’m fed up of being me I’ll put some skin tight lycra on, have a fag and then I’ll be cool like Danny and he’ll love me again,’.
Set in the backdrop of a 1950’s high school, Grease is one of the world’s most popular musicals. It’s this ubiquitous show, seemingly constantly touring with a slightly different production and a new pop star/soap star/reality star in the lead roles. This incarnation of the story features Tom Parker from The Wanted in his first major stage role as Danny, Eastenders’ ‘Ruby’ Louisa Lytton as Rizzo, winner of ‘Over the Rainbow’ Danielle Hope as Sandy, and the wonderful Jimmy Osmond (ask your Nan) as Teen Angel.
Grease has always been one of my favourite musicals, and one I’ve seen time and time again with different casts and slightly different shows. This version one was one of the best.
Despite not being the best Danny I’ve ever seen, Tom did a good job with a believable American accent and making the Danny role his own without changing it too much. His comic timing was brilliant (most notably in the ‘drive in’ scene).
Danielle Hope is fantastic as Sandy. Her voice is flawless and she’s a joy to watch on stage. Louisa was a perfect choice for Rizzo: sassy yet vulnerable, she commanded the stage every time she was on it, and her outfits were amazing!
The whole cast were fabulous, and one of the best ensembles I’ve seen in a production of this. However, three people with some of the smaller roles were the ones who stole the show for me.
Jimmy Osmond is the most incredible Teen Angel; it’s worth the ticket price alone for his one song. He was so captivating and funny, even with no dialogue apart from his song, he still had everyone in stitches! It was only when he appeared on stage to manic screams I realised why there were so many older ladies in the audience. I’ve never seen a performer convey so much cheekiness in one song before.
The other stand outs for me were Doody (Ryan Heenan) and Roger (Oliver Jacobson). Not only did both of them have the most incredible voices, but there was something about them that drew you to them when they were on stage. Both had some of the funniest performances (including one with half naked male backing dancers and a light up guitar) and they looked to be having the time of their lives up on that stage. As someone who watches a lot of live entertainment, seeing someone who clearly loves what they’re doing is one of the best things to experience. The enthusiasm is contagious and makes your theatre experience even more wonderful.
Highly recommended, one of the most fun nights I’ve had in a while. It was funny, emotional and cheeky. Grease is timeless and once you’ve seen it once you’ll be back for more so quiff up your hair, grab your pink lady jackets and make sure you check it out.
GREASE THE MUSICAL IS AT THE MAYFLOWER THEATRE UNTIL SATURDAY 8TH JULY – TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FROM THE BOX OFFICE AND WWW.MAYFLOWER.ORG.UK
Written by Jodie Brough