Grease The Musical, Palace Theatre, Manchester
Grease is the word but is this musical the one that we want?
If you head to this brand new touring production of Grease The Musical and spend too much time comparing it to the film, you might be let down.
On the other hand, if you ignore the film version and take this show for what it actually is, you’ll probably have a huge amount of fun.
Tom Parker, who is cast as Danny Zuko, impresses and amuses in his acting debut, nailing Zuko’s faux-confidence and cockiness
But, despite his boyband background with The Wanted, it’s his vocals that let him down, sounding quite flat and soulless at times.
Starring opposite him is Danielle Hope as Sandy. Since winning ‘Over The Rainbow’ in 2010, Danielle has become one of the most sough-after female leads in musical theatre and it’s easy to see why as she captures Sandy’s innocence (and sexiness at the end) perfectly and delivers an absolutely stunning rendition of ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’.
The play’s secondary characters also impress. Blackpool and the Fylde College’s Oliver Jacobsen and Rosanna Harris as the comic relief couple in Roger and Jan are hilarious and sweet in equal measure and Ryan Heenan delights as the bumbling Doody.
Darren Day’s performance is a mixed bag, with his brilliant performance as Teen Angel impressing much more than his Vince Fontaine, while Louisa Lytton’s Rizzo didn’t have quite enough grit for me.
However, when it comes to the musical score, you can’t really go wrong. Grease has so many classic songs and they’re brought to life brilliantly by a live band, led by the Musical Director Griff Johnson, who does a fantastic job. While Arlene Phillips’ musical staging and choreography complements it brilliantly.
Some songs, which aren’t featured in the film version, are also a welcome addition with ‘Mooning’ and ‘Those Magic Changes’ standing out in particular. Minor criticisms aside, if you’re looking for a fun night at the theatre, this musical might just be the one that you need (oh yes indeed).
Runs until, March 25.