Reviewed by Claire Giles
As a major fan of the film and its music I was really looking forward to seeing Grease The Musical. Until reading the programme whilst waiting for the performance to start I did not realise that Grease was originally a play before being adapted into a film years later and that there are some major differences between the play and film such as location, names, songs and themes. This intrigued me more and I couldn’t wait for the performance to start.
We watched the show at The Grand Theatre & Opera House in Leeds. The Grand is based in Leeds City Centre so easily accessible by car or public transport. There is plenty of payable car parking nearby. The staff were all very friendly and helpful.
Set in Chicago in the 1950’s the play is grittier, showing the realities of teenagers growing up in the era and trying to survive high school with drinking, smoking, swearing, fighting and sexuality. The story revolves around the members of The Burger Palace Boys and The Pink Ladies who all attend Rydell High School. After a short-lived summer romance between rebellious Danny and sweet innocent Sandy and thinking they would never see each other again Danny is surprised to find out Sandy has transferred to Rydell High. Their reunion though does not go well with Danny lying about what happened between them to uphold his bad boy image with his friends. Unlike the film which mainly focuses on the love story between Sandy and Danny the plays focuses on all the characters and their stories.
As expected, the musical score included all the well-known favourites like Summer Nights, Sandra Dee and We Go Together but introduced some new songs. A lot of these songs were from the original play but were not included when the play was adapted to film. The dance routines were excellent and full of energy. My daughter particularly enjoyed the performance of Greased Lightening with the flying car!
The standout and highly audience anticipated performance of Beauty School Drop Out by Peter Andre as Teen Angel was definitely the highlight of the night. The audience went wild when Peter Andre (is scheduled to perform on 19-22 June, 26-28 June & 17-20 July only) took to the stage and his performance was so powerful and charismatic he had the audience screaming out loud.
Overall the cast delivered their performances with real enthusiasm and passion. Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky as Rizzo was amazing. She played her part as the tough girl who occasionally shows her softer side with real emotion. Her voice was outstanding and her rendition of There Are Worse Things I Could Do was a highlight for me. Will Haswell portrayal of Johnny Casino was highly comedic and his interaction with audience was hilarious.
The show finished with an all singing, all dancing megamix of songs performed by the entire cast. This had the audience up on their feet singing and dancing and finished the show on a high. The cast deserved the standing ovation they received and proved that Grease really is an iconic show that stands the test of time.
Tickets cost from £15 (booking fees may apply).
Grease The Musical is at the Grand Theatre in Leeds from 19 June to 20 July 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.leedsgrandtheatre.com or call the box office on 0844 848 2700.
Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, 46 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NZ | 0844 848 2700