I am very enthusiastic about many musicals, but in terms of the long standing favourite, GREASE is the always the winner. I saw this retro musical for the third time this week. It is as fabulous as ever, with all the rock’n’roll numbers everyone remembers from the film, and dance routines that are as brilliant as expected from choreographer Arlene Phillips. The cast has recently changed and now features Matthew Goodgame (Channel 4 Musicality, Chicago) as the leader of the T-birds, Danny Zuko and Lauren Samuels (BBC1 ‘Over the Rainbow’ finalist) making her West End debut as Sandy.
Grease tackles some controversial social issues like teenage pregnancy and gang violence, subjects that make the film gritty and sexy. For me, this production is a little too tame and nice to live up to the exciting film, but this could also be because of the lack of John Travolta. I think the geeky characters are the best on stage: Faye Brookes as an adorable Frenchie, and Hayley Gallivan as a fantastic Jan. All the guys look great but their voices aren’t quite as sparkling. Lauren Samuels also impressed me, the role of Sandy is probably the least exciting part to play in Grease, but she grabs the audience’s attention with her strong voice and obvious stage presence.
Other retro musicals to see in London:
- Flashdance: new to the West End stage it tells the tale of 18 year old Alex, welder by day, ‘flashdancer’ by night who hopes to be given a place at the Shipley Dance Academy.
- Dreamboats and Petticoats: a sweet song-writing love story that features many classic songs.
- Dirty Dancing: brought to the stage after the hit 1987 film, features rebellion, growing up pains and above all, the power of dance!
- Sweet Charity: the story of a dancer-for-hire at a Times Square dance-hall who finds love at last (hurry it ends 6th November).
If you really want to get into the vintage musical mood, pick up a snazzy t-shirt at Grease or Flashdance. I got a Rydell High tee in grey and red, that I love.