Grease production is still as slick after all these years
I was only a young girl when I first saw the smash hit film Grease at the cinema, inspiring me to dance to the popular Summer Nights song at my youth discos.
Then I watched the musical in the nineties when Shane Ritchie starred as Danny Zuko and was intrigued to see if a modern performance would have the same appeal.
The show at HM Theatre in Aberdeen certainly didn’t disappoint with its colourful orchestra and cast of great singers. The musical centres on the characters Danny and sweet Sandy who fall in love, despite their different backgrounds. Their first meeting sets the stage for a journey of friendships, romances and adventures experienced by a group of exuberant high school students during the early 1950s.
As the medley of well-known tunes from the show reverberated around the auditorium, we slipped into a nostalgic bubble and the whole cast burst on to stage to sing the opening number Grease is the Word. Leader of the T-Birds, Danny Zuko, was played by The Wanted star Tom Parker who proved he can dance, act and of course sing; his heart-warming solo rendition of Sandy was certainly a crowd pleaser although he didn’t quite have the tough boy image of the original film actor, John Travolta, cast for the leading role.
Gabriella Williams was outstanding as the virtuous Sandy dazzling the audience with her pitch perfect vocals singing Hopelessly Devoted to You. Last but by no means least was local girl and understudy Ailsa Davidson who was thrust into the role of sassy Rizzo. Her portrayal of the tough persona never faltered while the audienced certainly warmed to her with the standout performance of the night – There are Worse Things I can Do.
But it was when the whole enthusiastic cast came together in the big song and dance numbers that the stage was really set alight. The T- Birds’ electrifying group number Grease Lightening received thunderous applause with their thrilling dance moves accompanied by pyrotechnics.
Ex-Strictly judge Arlene Phillips succeeded with the slick choreography; an almighty climax to the first half featured some of the fastest and energetic hand jiving I have ever seen. The fantastic set and lighting helped move the audience from retro diner scenes to Vince Fountain’s groovy radio station while the stunning 50s fashion and hairstyles transported us back to those long summer nights.
Ending the show with a Grease medley of songs gave the audience a chance to dance in the aisles showing how much of us are still “hopelessly devoted” to this feelgood glittering show. The performance at HM Theatre runs until Saturday.
Danny and Sandy strutting their stuff through the show’s finale You’re the One that I Want