Grease at Curve Reviewed

Grease The Musical

Curve Leicester until January 25 2017

Book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and William Casey

Directed by Nikolai Foster

Reviewed by Richard Perry

Grease is definitely the word for the next 8 weeks at Leicester's Curve as Nicolai Foster's take on the classic 50's based musical rampages across the stage.

This year's Christmas production easily continues the Curve tradition of popular family musicals guaranteed to get your feet tapping away into the new year.

For two and a half hours, a lively, tightly orchestrated and enthusiastic young cast blast their way through this Broadway and movie classic.

Grease is not just a 50's high school musical nostalgia trip. It's more than just a boy meets girl, girl dumps boy then changes her mind because he's actually not the arrogant dipsticks he seems, but she decides to go full leather chic to get him anyway, type story. Powerfully catchy and now iconic songs are set against a backdrop of sexual revolution and greaser culture. It was that strange time when America was changing; Elvis was king, rock n' roll was in its prime, the horrors of the Second World War and Korea were fading and the Beatles were still The Quarrymen. Little did teenagers know what was a round the corner... A bit like today really.

GreaseGrease is one of the most successful screen musicals ever but all thoughts of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John are washed away by Dex Lee as strutting gang leader Danny Zuko and Jessica Paul as nice as apple pie, bobby soxer Sandy Dumbrowski. Unlike the film version, this is more of an ensemble piece with cast members given expanded time in the sun, in particular Djalenga Scott as bad girl Betty Rizzo and Natalie Woods as Jan. The supporting cast don't put a foot wrong either... anywhere.

The school gym set with climbing bars disappearing into the fly loft adds to the flexibility of the wide stage. You can see the sides; just as well because the cast need every square inch of it especially in some of the more unusually staged sequences. (I won't spoil it for you but they're wonderfully daft).

This is a really fun, slick piece of musical theatre. Great songs, great singing, great hoofing and it rockets along.  If it's not the one that you want - then you're dead inside.

Richard Perry

Photos by Manuel Harlan