Book, Music and Lyrics: Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey
Director: David Gilmore
Reviewer: Ray Taylor
The Public Reviews Rating:
If the first night of this current run is anything to go by, once again Grease has definitely proved that it is the word. An absolutely packed house vociferously and enthusiastically acclaimed the enduring phenomenon of this show. From start to finish this is a rousing, rollicking evening’s entertainment that just does not fail to send its audience away singing those tunes.
Every production of Grease appears so fresh that it is surprising to realise that its original idea goes back 40 years. So many well known actors have played the leading roles and John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John will, of course, always be iconic. In this production Danny Bayne and Carina Gillespie do a fantastic job and succeed in making the parts their own which is no mean feat.
Bayne is the overall winner of ITV’s Grease is the Word and performed the role of Danny Zuko in London’s Piccadilly Theatre to sell-out audiences for over two years. Gillespie has an impressive list of theatre credits and has also achieved recording success. Together they demonstrate their excellent all round acting, singing and dancing skills and do full justice to the most popular You’re the One That I Want at the end. Throughout Bayne pulls off the combination of confident, cool dude to his mates with the more innocent inner self and brings out the humour in all the right places.
The whole company are extremely talented and versatile all performing their roles to perfection. Worthy of individual mention are Kate Somerset How as Rizzo, Ross William Wild as Kenickie, Charlotte Gooch as Patty and Stuart Reid as Vince Fontaine. Also memorable is Rhydian Roberts’ cameo as Teen Angel. Roberts, an X Factor finalist in 2007 and now a huge recording star, makes the most of his one scene and plays to the audience for all his worth.
The Grand Opera House at York has a very large stage and playing space and this production makes full use of it. Staging is very imaginative and effective with great sound and colourful sets. For example, the car in the Greased Lightning scene is transformed in the simple manner of having it turn round to reveal its new state. The seven-piece band have their own opening introductory section seated on their own platform in the gallery and this gets the audience really in the mood for what is to follow. For most of the rest of the show they are invisible behind a screen but it is good to have been ‘introduced’ to them at the beginning.
At the end the audience are treated to a very energetic and full reprise of the show’s numbers to send us all away in a happy mood and put on the soundtrack to listen to all over again as we drove home.
Runs until Saturday 3 November 2012
Tags: Carina Gillespie, Charlotte Gooch, Danny Bayne, David Gilmore, Grand Opera House, Grease, Jim Jacobs, John Travolta, Kate Somerset How, Olivia Newton-John, Rhydian Roberts, Ross William Wild, Stuart Reid, Warren Casey, York