YOU’D think I’d be bored of Grease after watching it nearly every day of my childhood — but the Gillian Banks production at the Rotherham Civic left me saying; “Tell me more, tell me more.”
Tuesday’s opening night had a party atmosphere, with audience members donning 50s fancy dress and a sing-along Grease megamix to open, the words of which I have been perfecting since my uni days.
It was a pleasant surprise to find this stage version isn’t a carbon copy of the much-loved film and there are new songs and scenes.
Sandy (Liana Underwood) has a bit more bite and Patty Simcox (Vicky Greensill) is pitted as her love rival.
But all the T-Birds and Pink Ladies are all in order and have great chemistry.
If you are wondering what Charlie Graves has been up to since his retirement from the Advertiser, well my old pal has bought himself a suit and is carving out a musical theatre career.
His debut role as egotistical DJ Vince Fontaine couldn’t have been too much of a stretch, but he adds a vintage charm to proceedings.
Graves stands out like a sore thumb among the youthful and talented cast, but he proves it’s never too late to teach an old hack new tricks. Perhaps we’ve been holding him back all these years.
Greased Lightning and Beauty School Drop Out are highlights and really bring together the great live music, costumes and choreography.
It can’t be easy taking on such huge, well-known solos, but Sandy, Danny (Richard Morgan) and Rizzo (Nicola Cutts) are outstanding.
Cutts has a soulful, powerful edge and Underwood a rich and mature tone, while Morgan adds the contemporary, pop vibe.
Deanna White as Frenchy is also very reminiscent of Didi Conn’s ditzy film version.
The sound glitches on opening night were ironed out in the second half and the audience was chomping at the bit to continue the sing-alongs.
Tight, professional and definitely not a drag — hopelessly devote yourself to catching this one. You have until tomorrow.