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Grease is the word! and it’s finally found itself at the Ipswich Regent, for one week only.
Quite frankly, if you don’t know the story of this hit 70’s musical, where have you been for all these years? Few are aware that it was actually a Broadway and West End show 6 years prior to the film that so many of us know and love- but now it’s back on stage for a UK tour.
For those who may not be familiar with the story, it’s set in the late 50’s at Rydell High, and follows ten working-class teenagers – grouped into the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies – as they face the complexities of adolescence. And above all, we are all waiting to see if Danny and Sandy’s love will ever reignite…
The plot is fairly simple, and ultimately is a rather cheesy and stereotypical romance-comedy; but what makes it great is that it dared to touch on social issues with teens of the 50’s, and from the outside looking in, it’s unadulterated fun.
The music is inspired by the early era of rock’n’roll, and it’s easy to see why its such an iconic soundtrack. The T Birds pulled out all the stops for Greased Lightnin’; and You’re The One That I Want, Summer Nights and We Go Together were among many of the audiences favourites. There was plenty of high-energy dancing, colourful costumes and our toes certainly tapped throughout.
The cast included Tom Parker (The Wanted), making his musical theatre debut playing Danny Zuko, Louisa Lytton (Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders) who plays Rizzo, and due to the indisposition of Danielle Hope (BBC’s Over the Rainbow winner) we got to see Gabriella Williams as Sandy, and a strong supporting cast. Parker had the cheeky charm of Zuko almost already ingrained in him, and definitely had a few fans in the audience, but he slightly lacked the power to completely steal hearts, as many appeared to prefer the usually less-favourable fellow T-Birds more. Lytton was seemingly born to be Rizzo and her rendition of There Are Worse Things I Could Do had us in the palm of her hands. Williams suited Sandy perfectly and it was a joy to watch her. Callum Evans as Eugene was perhaps the cast member or character who really stole our heart though! Plus, let’s just give a huge shout-out to the understudies for keeping the show together!
Overall, you have to take Grease for what it is. It’s essentially a cheesy rom-com, therefore it’s either a love or loath type show; and I can’t help but love it. I wouldn’t say this is the greatest production, but it’s fun and an excuse to completely switch-off from the dark times in the world and have a giggle. Something that we all need a little more of in life I feel. Besides, looking at the audience it’s evident that the legacy and love of Grease will live on for many more generations.