Grease pro­duc­tion is still as slick af­ter all these years

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FEATURES - BY LESLEY TAY­LOR

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

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