‘Dominion Theatre, London – until 29 October 2022
It’s a cult classic that’s got the word, got the groove, it’s got meaning, and in its current West End run at the Dominion Theatre, Grease provides a high energy, fun night out that’ll have you feeling good and tapping your toes.
The production which previously toured the UK features all the iconic moments and songs from the film, but shuffles them around and combines them with their original stage versions. For example The T Birds are now back to their original name of the Burger Palace Boys. These small tweaks allow the audience to be more engaged as they don’t quite know what’s coming.
However, other attempts to somewhat modernise the book fall a little flat. You would assume that ending the show with the punchline of the girl changing herself so the boy likes her, could’ve been switched up a little but it remains the same as the movie and certainly feels dated. This version of Grease does give Sandy’s character more of a backbone but it would be nice to see just a bit of dialogue added to give her a bit more autonomy at the end.
The West End cast is chockablock with strong performers who bring the array of characters to life incredibly well. As the leading lady, Olivia Moore is a delight as Sandy. Her powerhouse voice soars every time she opens her mouth and she gives a dynamic and endearing performance. Leader of the Burger Palace Boys, Danny Zuko is played well by Dan Partridge who really comes into his own in the angsty number ‘How Big I’m Gonna Be’ and also provides great humour and vocals in ‘Stranded at the Drive In’.
Other standout performers include Jocasta Almgill, who’s rendition of ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’, is heart-wrenching and transforms the song to be heard in a new light. Mary Moore is also a gem as Jan and Eloise Davies is wonderfully witty and whimsical as the Beauty School Dropout, Frenchie. Paul French’s Kenickie is rough and brooding but sometimes lets his softer side show and is a delight to watch.
If you’ve seen the adverts for this show, you’ll have probably seen Peter Andre who is starring as Vince Fontaine and Teen Idol. Whilst only appearing briefly in act one, in act two he comes to life and is highly entertaining and will certainly please audience members who are fans!
There are a few moments in the show where the energy lulls or jokes fall a bit flat but it’s the full ensemble sections that really bring it back up and make it soar. The Hand Jive and We Go Together are especially good moments that ooze energy and almost create electricity in the auditorium. This is in a big way thanks to Arlene Phillips’ outstanding choreography that is fresh and exciting but completely in keeping with what we know as love as typically Grease.
As a whole the cast are top notch and work really well together. It’s great to see how much characterisation work has gone into each role, so that no matter who you’re looking at one stage, you can always see a story or relationship developing with them.
Despite a few shortcomings, the musical is a real laugh and a nice, hand jiving escape from reality. It’s not groundbreaking but Grease The Musical does what it says on the tin and delivers iconic scenes and songs that fans of the film will love. So, all you crazy cats better get booking!