With its cheesy jokes, feel good songs and an array of over enthusiastic teenagers from the 50’s with a rebellious edge, it’s not hard to see why Grease has been at the forefront of musical theatre for over 30+ decades.
Songs like ‘You’re the one that I want’ and ‘Look at me I’m Sandra Dee’ have been played countless times, and sung by some well-known names on the West end. so when Rewrite this Story got invited to review an Am Dram revival of this well-loved musical, we jumped at the chance to take our seat.
Unfortunately, I wish I hadn’t been so quick off the bat, apart from Yvette Stiel (Cha Cha) and Charlie smith (Danny) dancing to ‘Born to Hand Jive’ at the school dance, there’s very little right with this show.
Danielle Orlans (Rizzo) had countless face movements, almost like she had a tick and put on a very strange New York/Boston accent which carried on through her singing making it very hard to hear the words and almost painful to the ears. I was unsure why Director Stuart James had Orlans sing ‘There are worst things I can do’ to Sandy (Laura Ellis), who looked just as confused as myself and a couple of people sitting next to me.
Casting Smith as Danny, in my opinion was proberly not the best move, he had no charm and nothing about him screamed leader, Jarrod Hawn, who played Kenickie would have been a much better choice as I found him to have more stage presence, charm and wit.
Ellis as Sandy was a decent choice although I felt like she was cast due her voice, her rendition of ‘hopelessly devoted to you’ was pitch perfect and the whole audience was captured by her and her emotion during the song. As sweet and innocent Sandy, Ellis played the role ok at first but as the show went on it looked like she was more comfortable as her character, which in the grand scheme of things would make her the perfect Sandy due to her character growth within the show.
The rest of the T-Birds and Pink ladies we’re nothing special, however, I did seem drawn to Ashlie Kenyon-Evason who portrayed Jan, the way she bounced around stage and belted out high notes made the show watchable as well as Kate Winney (Marty) who carried her character well and had the younger girl wishing to be older scenarios down to a T.
With Direction from New Zealand born Stuart James, this show is a massive flop, the singing was mediocre, the acting was barely there and they shoved too many people on the stage at one time making the dance scenes look messy and uncoordinated which I would have thought the choreographers, Samantha Herriot and Vanessa Forte should have noticed.
Alexis Rose and Lewis McKenzie, (Patty Simcox & Eugene Florczyk) seemed to be a handful of actors who had been the only ones focusing in rehearsal.
Overall, the show seemed clunky and unrehearsed and this is one showing of Grease I wish to never see again.
Grease is currently playing at the Bridewell Theatre with complete sold out performances.