1950s Americana came to Manchester as ‘Grease’ the Musical roared into the Palace Theatre at the start of a UK tour.
The iconic film ‘Grease’ was a massive hit in 1978, starring John Travolta as Danny and Olivia Newton-John as Sandy.
The Palace Theatre production features a young all-star cast, with Tom Parker from boy band The Wanted playing Danny.
BBC TV ‘Over the Rainbow’ star Danielle Hope (who made her debut at the London Palladium as Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’) takes on the role of Sandy. EastEnders Louisa Lytton plays audience favourite, Rizzo, the Queen Bee of the Pink Ladies.
Darren Day doubles up as Vince, the over the top radio jock who organises a dance-off at the Rydell High School Prom, and as Teen Angel, a blond ‘Elvis’ in a silver and gold stage suit who steals the limelight.
The story is a simple one, boy meets girl, boy rejects girl, boy then realises girl is ‘the one that he wants.’
‘Grease’ comes with high audience expectations after the chart-dominating hits generated by the smash hit film in 1978, including ‘You’re the One that I Want,’ ‘Summer Nights’ and ‘Hopelessly ‘Devoted to You.’
‘Grease’ has also won many theatre awards and this production in Manchester didn’t disappoint, with an action-packed, crowd-pleasing staging and performance.
The energetic cast of T-Birds and Pink Ladies tore through fast-paced song and dance numbers and had the audience singing and clapping along.
Danielle Hope, as Sandy, nailed ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You,’ which was one of the show’s highlights.
For this reviewer, one of the wow moments was the garage scene when a Cadillac Eldorado convertible drives in and comes to a stop with a bang and a flash of flame from the exhaust pipe and this leads into the song ‘Greased Lightning.’ Pure theatre.
The music and dance numbers really come together when the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies share the stage in ‘Grease is the Word,’ ‘Summer Nights’ and ‘You’re the One That I Want.’
I was impressed by the minimalist and atmosphere-creating sets used to create Rydell High School and the Burger Palace – the backdrops to the timeless problems of teenage love faced by Danny and Sandy.
One has to marvel at the 140 costume changes during the show. The authentic costumes from the 1950s, the swing skirts, the biker leather jackets, and the slicked back hair styles, take you back to the era of rock and roll.
Watch out for transformation of Sandy from miss-goody-two-shoes Sandra Dee to the black-cat-suited vamp (the unforgettable moment brought to life in the film by Olivia Newton John).
‘Grease the Musical’ is on at the Palace Theatre until Saturday 25th March.
For more information and to book tickets phone 0844 871 3018 or go to: