Driving its way back onto the West End, Grease the musical is back with a new invention of the iconic hit. Having originated as a stage show, before the highly acclaimed film was produced, there is a clear nod to the grittiness that there once was before the film, though this remodel still holds that uplifting flair that you can't resist.
After opening to Grease is the Word, the characters swiftly divide into their groups- the Burger Palace Boys vs the Pink Ladies. With flirty personalities on both sides, the boys express their masculinity while the girls swoon, all attempting to get the juicy details of Sandy and Danny's beach antics in 'Summer Nights'. A fantastic rendition of 'Freddy My Love' lead by Lizzy-Rose Esin-Kelly follows, which is staged in a great manner. Noah Harrison sings 'Mooning' as Roger, with perfect expression and tone, alongside Mary Moore as Jan. Becoming Frenchy, Eloise Davies consistently excels, and ensures to overstate the character, meanwhile Rizzo's feisty attitude turns into vulnerability, with Jocasta Almgill's passionate solo, 'There Are Worse Things I Could Do'.
Undoubtably, Olivia Moore is ideal for her role as innocent girl Sandy, and her version of 'Hopelessly Devoted to You' is so gorgeous, it's guaranteed to give you goosebumps. Danny is played by Dan Partridge, who equally embraces the swaggered look of the group leader. Although their individual performances were without fault, together, their chemistry just didn't feel convincing enough, but this did not particularly detract from the joy of the show.
Despite his fairly minor role overall as Vince Fontaine/Teen Angel, Peter Andre gives a crowd pleasing performance, upholding the same voice and charisma as he did in the 90s. Situated in the cleverly presented radio booth amid the back wall, he then judged the hand jive competition, before Peter's big number- 'Beauty School Drop Out'- alongside a company of other angels, which is a masterpiece in itself.
Electrifying choreography by Arlene Phillips dominates the viewing as the whole cast partake in spectacular routines. 'Greased Lightning' is particularly mesmerising, as the boys commemorate Kenickie's latest car- the most prominent prop, that plays its key role in the plot well. The set was disappointing at times, failing to transport the stage into a funfair extravaganza or race track. However, the space across the vast stage was filled effectively for the most part, with action often happening, causing you to spot fresh content with every glance. Various pyrotechnics bring extra excitement, and the lighting for this production, designed by Ben Cracknell, is excellently conducted.
Act one is closed with an effervescent performance of 'We Go Together', before its return at the end of the show, preliminary to the 'Megamix' to get you on your feet and singing along, imprinting those vibrant memories so they last long beyond your journey home.
Whether your jacket is pink or leather at heart, Grease the musical just goes by too quickly. Directed by Nikolai Forster, this revival is worth learning the hand jive for.