REVIEW: Grease (is the word) – Empire Theatre 09/11/11

The latest incarnation of Grease – The Musical came to the Empire Theatre this week starring local born actors Ray Quinn and Carina Gillespie in the leading roles of Danny & Sandy. Rich Denton took along his own Sandy D to the show

Although made famous by the 1978 movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, Grease originally started out as a stage musical before hitting the big screen. The movie adaptation did however sanitize the original script and many of the cleaner, less controversial plotlines are what remain today.

The casting of popular local actors Ray ‘Our Anthony’ Quinn and Carina Gillespie will guarantee packed out shows for this run and they both delivered solid performances in their lead roles.

Kate Somerset How was brilliant as the irrepressible Rizzo and former X-Factor contestant Rhydian Roberts provided comedy and voice as the ridiculously OTT ‘Teen Angel’

This latest production doesn’t take any big gambles or drift from the familiar, which comes across in some of the production. Unexciting set design and fluctuating sound levels gave an amateurish feel to the night and didn’t support the cast in any way.

The songs are timeless and I defy anyone not to sing-a-long to the big numbers. In fact the musical side of things was very good with some great stand out performances from the cast. It was during the dialogue where the production fell away with almost pin dropping silences between lines. The ‘Bleachers’ scene on the Rydell High sports field for instance.. without a hint of background noise, this could have been set in the school library it was so quiet.

The show does pick up pace and is full of energy in the more musical second act. And, when things should be ‘pin droppingly’ quiet such as at the drive in for Danny’s solo and Rizzo’s poignant ‘There are worse things I could do’ then the stars are finally allowed to shine.

Grease (The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) - Various Artists

GREASE runs until 19th November and tickets are available from the Empire Box Office 0844 8713017

PHOTOS: Jamie McAleny (digitalplantpot) 


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