If I were to say only one thing about the stage production of Grease (yes, I’m slightly jumping the gun here rounding up my thoughts in the first sentence of my review) it would be to say that you’d have to have seen the film first to really appreciate the show; but then who hasn’t seen Grease? It’s funny then that the iconic 1978 film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John isn’t where it all began for Danny and Sandy, but was a theatre production for six years before Hollywood got its hand on the story of an all-American high school.
My reasoning for saying that you’d have to have seen the film first to get the most from the stage production is because Danny is so dismissive of Sandy (Danielle Hope) on stage that’s it’s difficult to understand why this young girl would so hung up on him. Their relationship didn’t convey very well on the stage and I found myself having to remind myself that this was THE Danny & Sandy.
Tom Parker played the role of Danny and it’s no doubt that John Travolta left some very big shoes to fill and I’m afraid to say that, for me, he didn’t quite fit the bill or have that same presence and demeanor you expect from dreamy Danny Zuko.
The stage production featured all the big numbers and the crowd was raring to go and sing-along to Grease is the Word, We Go Together and Hopelessly Devoted To You among new music such as Those Magic Changes, performed by one of the standout actors in my opinion, Ryan Heenan, which was a welcome edition to the stage production and added something new and fun to what was mostly a scene-by-scene follow on to the film.
One of the big moments from the film translated incredibly well and delivered all the glitz and razzmatazz you want on the stage; Beauty School Dropout with Teen Angel (George Olney) was brilliant and that alone warranted an encore.
The famous Greased Lightning was another all-singing-all-dancing moment that was ridiculously fun to clap along to but I do think their choice to break the fourth wall slightly by using microphones slightly dampened it for me at least because you lose the magic from the film where it’s a group of high school seniors envisioning doing up a car and getting carried and excited in their own minds of what they can transform this beat up old motor into and it is so obviously a performance. An odd observation to make perhaps, but I suppose I refer the story to unfold on the stage in front of me as opposed to being performed to.
Grease is on at The Regent Theatre until Saturday 27th May. To book tickets, visit www.atgtickets.com or call the box office on 0844 871 7649.