Everyone remembers the 1978 Grease movie, but the original 1971 musical is brought back to life in this new-old adaptation of Grease by director Nikolai Foster. Whilst maintaining the vibrant, fun-loving grease we all know and love, this version focuses more on the original script, leaving us with a grittier, more powerful version of the classic tale. With upbeat musical numbers, excellent vocal performances and a fantastic set design, it is truly not one to miss. Grease is at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre from the 27th September- 2nd October 2021 and if you’re looking for a great night out, this is the show for you!
Press night saw Ellie Kingdon take the stage as the alternate Sandy, and it was a delight to see her performance. Her stunning vocals were a true highlight of the show, and she performed a new side to Sandy, showing her as a much more powerful and assertive character. Dan Partridge captured the true essence of Danny in every way, from his smooth vocals to ‘cool guy’ attitude. With the addition of a new solo “How big i’m gonna be” in act 1 for Danny, we see more of a backstory to his character however the song itself it felt unnecessary.
Tendai Rinomhota stuns as Rizzo whilst Marianna Neofitou and Inez Budd as Frenchy and Marty provide some of the best portrayals i’ve seen, perfectly characterising the Pink Ladies in all their glory, alongside Maeve Byrne as a hilarious Jan.
The “T-Birds” return to their original “Burger Palace Boys” (a change which left the audience feeling confused and almost like they were watching a parody of Grease) however Paul French as Kenickie, Alex Christian and Josh Barnett as Doody and Roger provide great comic relief as well as excellent vocals and impressive dancing. The dance break in Greased Lightning was a true highlight for the boys.
Special mention must of course go to Peter Andre as Teen Angel/Vince Vontaine. As much as it was disappointing to have so many audience members behave like it was a Peter Andre concert, even talking through some of the other character’s solos, you truly could not fault his vocals and it was nice to see everyone rooting for him.
This production features a highly energetic and talented ensemble. The ensemble are as follows, Elliot Gooch, Dom Hutcheson, Haroun al Jeddal, Hannah-Faith Marram, Kalisha Johnson, Laura-Jane Fenney, Kevin O’Dwyer and Jacob Young.
Grease is such a classic show, and loved by so many for so many reasons. Choreography by Arlene Phillips was an absolute highlight of this production, paired with the stunning set and lighting design by Colin Richmond and Ben Cracknell, made for a visual dream. The changes to revert the story back to the original book (Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey) were appreciated however the addition of the new songs and expansion into Danny’s character did overshadow some of the other principles, and felt a bit disjointed in the plot. I couldn’t help but feel like parts of the story that were fine were “fixed”, yet the issues in the original book were left unsolved.
Nevertheless, the production still felt true to the story we all know and love, and was a treat to watch. ‘Grease’ is one of those musicals that we all know and love, and this production is no doubt not one to miss for Grease fans. This new production is clever and exciting and shows a new side from previous versions. Paired with an exceptionally talented cast this musical is bound to be a hit and is a must-see!
Tickets can be found here: https://greasethemusicalontour.com/tour-tickets/