Reviewed by Louise Edwards
Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre in the heart of the city centre, whizzed us back to the late 1950s for Grease The Musical and all the feelgood feeling of music, dancing and theatre!
The story is set at Rydell High, a fictional high school, where we are introduced to the Pink Ladies (Frenchy, Marty, Jan and Rizzo) and the Burger Palace boys (Danny, Kenickie, Roger, Doody and Sonny).
Frenchy (played by Marianna Neofitou) introduces the Pink Ladies to her new neighbour, Sandy (played by Ellie Kingdon), who was meant to go to a Catholic school but the offer fell through. Sandy tells them about a holiday romance she had over the summer. Meanwhile womaniser Danny (played by Dan Partridge) is telling the boys a contrasting story about his summer fling as they sing Summer Nights. The Pink Ladies realise that Sandy is singing about Danny and when Sandy and Danny bump into each other things are awkward. To cheer up Sandy her new friends invite her to a pajama party.
The party exposes what a sheltered life Sandy has led as the streetwise Rizzo (played by Tendai Rinomhota) pressurising Sandy to smoke and drink and the sight of blood when Frenchie pierces her ears has Sandy feeling nauseous.
Danny turns up to cheerleader practice to apologise to Sandy, who is there with cheerleading captain, Patty (played by Thea Bunting).Patty flirts with Danny and tells him to try out for the track team which he says he will do leading to teasing and goading from his Burger Palace gang.
There is lots more action with “Beauty School Drop out” performed by Teen Angel, “Look at me Im Sandra Dee” and of course “Grease Lightning” about Elliot Gooch’s Kenikie’s banger of a car as well as “Hopelessly devoted to you”, “We go Together and the classic “You’re the one that I want” performed at the end by Danny and Sandy when Sandy throws off her innocence and turns into Danny’s dream wild child.
Grease The Musical has many more plot and songs than the 1978 film, made famous by Olivia Newton John and John Travolta, Many of these are taken from when the musical was first performed in 1971 in Chicago where the story is based. The show is a brand new version and is actually the first new production of Grease in 25 years.
Directed by Nikolai Foster, artistic director of Curve and choreographed by Arlene Phillips (Strictly Come Dancing Judge), the show packs a punch with energy and enthusiasm. The cast are young and fresh faced and bring youthful invigoration and spirit. The show deals with some pretty complex teenage issues – peer pressure, pregnancy and gang violence to name just a few, It has grit and heart in equal measures.
Mention should also be given to the stage design by Colin Richmond which cleverly transforms from bedroom to dance hall to street setting seamlessly.
Jacob Fisher played the part of Vince Fontaine/Teen Angel very well but in some locations he is substituted by Peter Andre. I think this “star quality” would add something else to the show although it is very very enjoyable either way.
All of the famous songs from the film (which most people are familiar with) are there and at the end there is a fantastic medley of all of the songs where you can’t resist getting up to dance. So put on your Tbird tshirt or Pink Lady jacket and grab some 50s Rock n Roll before it leaves town!
Tickets cost from £15 plus transaction fee. Grease The Musical is at Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield to Saturday 9 October 2021 for more information or to book tickets visit https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/grease or call the box office on 0114 249 6000 55 Norfolk Street Sheffield S1 1DA
Nationwide tour dates can be found here https://greasethemusicalontour.com/tour-tickets/