Grease at Dominion Theatre
Grease is live on-stage in London, with the same historic soundtrack familiar to quite a few generations, and it’s an excitingly upbeat two-hander.
Danny Zuko (Dan Partridge) and Sandy D (Olivia Moore) fall in love one summer and exchange vows at the end of a dreamy vacation spent alone together. When the term starts, they discover they will be attending the same school and also that their respective “crowds” have quite different attitudes – especially true for Danny, the head of the Burger Palace Boys, a group of cool guys whose calling cards are grease, cars and leather jackets. The pure Sandy, in the meantime, tries to fit in with the mundane Pink Ladies, which results in more teasing and misunderstandings. Can the worlds of the two lovers meet?
This production is nicely dotted with the stories of many other characters, with the main love story functioning not as the only impetus, but rather as a line that threads loosely throughout. The uninhibited Lizzo (Jocasta Almgill) and the tough Kenickie (Paul French) are the counterpart sustaining the narrative, the latter in particular, with his car obsession (who has never danced to Greased Lightnin’?). But there is also space for the tender exchange between Jan (Mary Moore) and Roger (Noah Harrison), the guitar exercises of Doody (Jake Reynolds), and Marty’s (Lizzy-Rose Esin-Kelly) penpal romance. And how could anyone forget the doubts and dreams of Frenchy (Eloise Davies)? Beauty School Dropout is one of the best moments of the night: pink overwhelms every inch of the set, the whole scene whimsical and phantasmagorically fun. Grease is a light ensemble show, with a splash of colour and adventure, shaped by remarkable vocals.
The movie aficionados will spot the omissions that belong in the original on-screen version; the performance here is of the musical initially devised in the early 70s by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Nikolai Foster directs an entertaining and well-paced piece. For some of the songs, the cast begins with small movements, fully grooving only towards the end, which risks holding back the excitement. However, We Go Together and the school dance prove to be excitingly choreographed by Arlene Phillips. For some privileged audiences, DJ Vince Fontaine is humorously played by Peter Andre.
This West End production of the classic is entertaining, cheery, foot-stomping and smooth as grease.
Photo: Manuel Harlan
Grease is at Dominion Theatre from 3rd May until 29th October 2022. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.