More than four decades since Sandy, Danny, the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies first graced the stage, Grease has returned in a highly enjoyable and energetic production at Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre.
A staple of amateur theatricals and school groups, Grease has enjoyed a number of revivals over the years, from stage and arena productions through to a national tour in an over-sized circus tent. Its success firmly built on the 1978 film starring Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta and Stockard Channing, based on Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey musical of the same name with additional songs by Barry Gibb, John Farrar, Louis St. Louis and Scott Simon.
David Gilmore’s production delivers on all levels making it one of the most enjoyable nights out in the theatre. The principal and supporting cast are slick and finely tuned, relishing in the familiar jukebox catalogue that includes Summer Nights, You’re The One That I Want, Hopelessly Devoted To You, We Go Together, Greased Lightnin’ and the signature tune Grease Is The Word.
Rob Mills and Gretel Scarlett are delightful as the young lovers Danny and Sandy. Lucy Maunder gives a standout performance as Rizzo, none more so with There are Worse Things I Could Do. The T-Birds are particularly strong in Stephen Mahy (Kenickie), Chris Durling (Doody), Sam Ludeman (Sonny), and Duane McGregor (Roger), who belt out a high octane version of Greased Lightnin’, while Laura Murphy (Jan), Francine Cain (Frenchy), and Karla Tonkich (Marty) as the Pink Ladies are fun and bubbly, providing some of the nights lighter moments.
Drawing on her former role as Prisoner’s top dog, Bea Smith, Val Lehman shows her authoritarian edge as Miss Lynch the School Principal, and Bert Newtown is in his element as radio announcer Vince Fontaine. Anthony Callea as rocker Johnny Casino delivers a crowd pleasing Born To Hand Jive, and always the showman, Todd McKenney undoubtedly steals the show with his rendition of Beauty School Dropout that is full of glitz & glamour and self-depreciating humour.
Energetic choreography by Arlene Phillips and Charlotte Bull keep this ensemble on its toes, supported by Stephen Amos (Musical Director) and his on-stage band with a nicely balanced big rounded sound, evoking memories of a by-gone era. Terry Parson’s design is simply terrific – the transition of the car in Greased Lightnin’ from a beat-up bomb to a hot machine is quite spectacular, enhanced by Mark Henderson’s lighting design. Andreane Neofitou’s costumes superbly reference the 1950’s era.
If you are looking for a fun night out or just a trip down memory lane – do yourself a favour and check Grease out!
Her Majesty’s Theatre, 219 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Performance: Sunday 5 January 2014 – 6.00pm
Season continues to 30 March 2014
Bookings: 1300 795 012 or online at: www.ticketek.com.au
For more information, visit: www.greaseistheword.com.au for details.
Image: Grease Cast by Jeff Busby
Review: Rohan Shearn