Grease most definitely is the word as one of the most famous musicals in existence makes its way into Stoke-on-Trent. The show that was voted Britain’s favourite musical, is the one that Stoke wanted last night as the theatre was packed with excited people young and old. It was amazing to see so many young faces at the theatre and this was the perfect show to get them involved. The show which is chocked to the brim with famous songs that ever person has in their back pocket and at points you could hear people singing along. On entrance to the auditorium you are greeted by a huge pink neon sign of the iconic logo linked to the show. This is used impressively to start the show and set the mood instantly.
The title song ‘Grease is the Word’ originally by Frankie Valli was such a strong start to the show I was really taken back by the characterisation that oozed from the one song. However, after this some songs seemed weak in comparison, this was shown by the audience responses. Some songs like ‘Grease Lightening’ were sang well, but were so loud it was like being at a concert. I’m not sure I understand the change to handheld mic for some songs and not using it for others if I’m whole heartedly honest. This did affect sound levels a lot and gave the show more of a concert feel at points as opposed to the musical promised.
The star of the show for me was Ryan Heenan as Doody, he absolutely shone on that stage. Every number he was in was instantly lifted, his stage presence was impeccable and his comedy timing was perfection. He gave Doody such a cute presence and with this breathed a new life into the show.
George Olney as Teen Angel/Vince Fontaine, I was worried when I saw him in the programme as I felt he looked a bit too young. However, the second he graced the stage any worries were blown out of the water. He was perfect for the role. The comedy tone of the part was perfected and vocally he was outstanding. If ever a voice was perfectly fitted to a part this is it.
Tom Parker, gave as good as he can in the role of Danny. His dancing was extremely strong in all numbers. He sang ‘Sandy’ beautifully and I think he will just keep growing and growing into the part, but at points he just hadn’t caught the coolness of the character but this will come with time. I for one think we will be seeing him in a lot of theatre shows from now on.
Dannielle Hope as Sandy, caught the innocence of the character well and sang the iconic songs beautifully. She was a brilliant casting for sandy.
Louisa Lytton caught the characterisation of Rizzo brilliantly, especially in the second half she seemed much more comfortable with the part in the second half and this showed. Her rendition of ‘Worse Things I Could Do’ wasn’t as emotional as you are used to hearing, but this added to the coldness of Rizzo’s character.
All the Pink Ladies and T birds were cast well and I came out of the theatre singing ‘Mooning’ which Michael Cortez and Rosanna Harris gave a brilliant rendition of the cutesy nature of these two was caught beautifully.
Overall, this is the perfect show to take your kids or big kids too. Is it a theatrical masterpiece? No. But is it great fun? Yes it is!
Reviewer: Leanne Ashworth
Reviewed: 22nd May 2017
North West End Rating: ★★★
Image: Paul Coltas