Rydell High’s spirited class of ’59’ gum-chewing, hub-cap-stealing, hot-rod loving boys with D.A.s and leather jackets and their wise-cracking girls in teased curls, bobby sox, and pedal pushers capture the look and sound of the 1950’s in a rollicking musical that salutes the rock?n?roll era. While hip Danny and wholesome Sandy resolve the problems of their mutual attraction for each other, the gang sings and dances its way through such nostalgic scenes as the pyjama party, the prom, the burger palace, and the drive-in movie. Too many unforgettable songs to mention – Grease is STILL the word!
- Sandy – Rachel Mayon
- Danny – Gabriel Walker
- Kennickie – Ashley Ball
- Roger – Michael Gardiner
- Doody – Matthew Roughley
- Sonny – Tom Oliver
- Rizzo – Tori Green
- Marty – Vicki Harrison
- Frenchy – Katie Bond
- Jan – Hannah Williams
- Patty – Emily Barnett
- Vince Fontaine – Michael Muldoon
- Eugene – Josh Mosiuk
- Ms Lynch – Margaret Leslie
- Johnny Casino & Teen Angel – Matt Darsley
- Cha Cha – Jennifer O’Neill
- Cheerleader/Freshman – Laura Slater
- Cheerleader/Freshman – Shelley Frankland
- Cheerleader/Freshman – Rebecca Cooper-Bagnall
- Assistant to the Director Val Watkinson
- Musical Director Mark Goggins
- Choreographer Lorna Sales
- ASM Carol Gibson
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It goes without saying that the musical ‘Grease’ by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey is a very popular one, It’s had many successful revivals on Broadway and in the West End as well as countless tours and it even won the title of ‘the world’s best musical’ thanks to a public vote a few years ago! Can you believe!? Grease is, for me, an ultimate guilty pleasure show (and film) and was probably one of my most played CD’s during my early teens (yup, it?s true!)? Set in the late 1950’s – Grease follows the exploits of a graduating class who inhabit Rydel High. The show, in its original form, was not considered ‘family entertainment’ – it’s plot was not as thin as it’s become as it tackled issues about teenage drinking, smoking, under age pregnancy and also included a fair amount of physical violence, however, 42 years later with a smash film and countless stage revivals to its name, although still touching on the topics, what’s left is a much more sanitised and ‘family friendly’ version of a once edgy musical offering. The one static set for this production was simple and worked well, I liked the 50’s pop art design and the split levels helped to create some nice visual moments. The Garrick welcome first time choreographer Lorna Sales to the production team making this show her debut with AG. Lorna set some great routines which were very visual and striking at times. The dancing was tackled head on by her cast, though I think the strain of a short rehearsal period was exposed when it comes to the choreography delivery as quite a few movement hiccups were noticeable at several points. A main ingredient for this show is energy’ you cannot have enough and this production served up plenty of it! It was evident that the entire cast were having a blast which was key to its success. Particular stand outs for me were Josh Mosiuk who gave a quirky Eugene- Josh was extremely engaging whenever on stage, as was Vicki Harrison as Marty who not only looked perfect for this role she gave a strong all round delivery. This show was indeed stolen by Tori Green as Rizzo, Tori was the one you heard people talking about as they left the theatre, vocally, ‘Worst Things I Could Do’ was flawless – fabulous! Sandy, played by Rachel Elizabeth Mayon was as sweet as she should be and sung a good rendition of ‘Hopelessly Devoted’. I enjoyed Gabriel Walker’s Danny, he had the characters clumsy and slightly gawky side to perfection which gained him some worthy laughs – very likeable! Mark Goggins band sounded fantastic! This just confirmed to me that, whenever possible, the musicians should either be on stage or in the pit ? the sound of the live musicians sounds so much more alive and exciting compared to when they’re channelled through from the studio. Great job! Lighting wise, there were a number of black spots across the set and I felt that the design wasn’t colourful or vibrant enough for this style of show. Sticking with technical, the sound levels had weak spots as we could hardly hear the boys during ‘Summer Nights’ and mic levels were erratic during company numbers. Director, Adam Whittle had created some lively and comical scenes and had, wisely, taken inspiration from the film while still able to include flashes of his own vision too, though some of the blocking decisions were questionable and at times didn’t seem to have purpose but still, a laudable job with a strong result for this high energy and electrifyin’ show!
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