Review: Grease at Wales Millennium Centre.

Review: Grease at Wales Millennium Centre.

The story of Grease
really begins in 1970 when Jim Jacobs first had the idea of a musical
based around good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll! From playing old
records at a cast party to a full theatrical production of Grease,
there was no looking back for this feel-good musical.

Last night Warren
and I attended Wales Millennium Centre to see Grease in action, live
on stage! We were really excited because it’s the kind of performance
that gets everyone grooving and it ended up feeling like a bit of a
date night for both of us.

The scene was set
with flashing lights and a beautiful introduction from the very
talented orchestra. The music was outstanding and it was great to see
them upon the stage giving it their all. As soon as the show began it
was hard not to be impressed by the costumes and set. The 50’s
clothing was spot on, with slicked back hair and full skirts, it was
a fashionable feast for the eyes.

Each character
looked the part, and it was thanks to costume and make-up that each
character stood out. For example, I could easily spot Rizzo, my
favourite character from the movie. Their hair, the bright clothing
tailored to each person and their presence on stage immediately felt
like it was going to be a great show!
There was a lot of
energy from the off, and it didn’t falter once. Tom Parker plays
Danny, the cool teen who doesn’t know how to choose between being
cool or being the guy Sandy fell in love with. I don’t believe anyone
can match the legendary John Travolta performance of 1978, but he
gave it a good shot. I thought his character appeared a bit more on
the creepy side though, especially his interaction with the female
characters, and sometimes the impersonation of Travolta seemed
unnecessary. I think I would have preferred a fresh take on Danny,
but perhaps that’s not what a typical Grease fan is looking for?

He belted out song
after song but I didn’t quite gel with his performance of Danny. His
comedy performance was effective, and gained a lot of laughs, and his
interaction with other characters really worked during the whole
performance. He also seemed to have the right body language for
Danny, if you’re keen on a replica, and I could tell he’d really got
into the head space of the character.

Sandy was performed
by Danielle Hope and I was really impressed with her performance. I
thought she had a lot of stage presence and she created a fresh
version of Sandy. I found her less irritating than her TV
counterpart, and a lot more likeable. She was sweet but also sassy at
times, and her voice was wonderful, although Warren said he felt she
could have let go a whole lot more (I think this is a good thing
though!). I thought she played the part perfectly and I had
goosebumps as she sang Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee towards the end of
the second act.
The T-Birds were
pretty hilarious and well cast, especially Doody (Ryan Keenan) and
Roger (Oliver Jacobson). Doody was incredibly cute on stage, and when
he sprang to life with Those Magic Changes everyone was in awe! As
for Roger, he completely stole the show with his duet of Mooning with
Jan (Rosanna Harris). His voice was so impressive and they worked
really well together!

The Pink Ladies were
outstanding, and I can honestly say they all gave it 100% as they
performed alongside Danny and Sandy. I particularly like Rizzo (my
favourite character) but I wish the sound had been a little louder on
her songs, her voice was gorgeous and husky and Louisa Lytton
completely owned the character as she strutted up and down the stage
veering between bitter, bitchy and bitter-sweet. She was ace and I
loved her version of There Are Worse Things I Could Do.

Frenchy (Rhiannon
Chesterman) also stood out, her voice was seriously cute and her
presence on stage was strong. I loved how she interacted with the
other characters, especially Doody. Marty (Lauren Atkins) and Jan
were also perfectly cast and the Pink Ladies ended up feeling
particularly real to me in relation to the movie.

In the second act,
Jimmy Osmond sent the audience into a craze, and he loved it! He was
pretty hilarious, looked great in sparkles and he sang his heart out!
It was nice to see so many people react in such a way for a
performer. 

I have to say that
out of all the cast it was actor Callum Evans, who performed as
Eugene, that surprised me the most. He really grasped the comedy
side of the character, employing a lot visual elements with his face
and body to make the audience laugh. He also performed acrobatics
across the stage, and he was the kind of character always busy doing
something funny during scenes, it was literally a case of ‘blink and
you miss it’! He was a fab part of the performance and I’m still
laughing because of him!

There was one issue
I had throughout the show, and that was with the use of microphones
during certain songs. Firstly, it felt a bit odd to see the
characters using cordless microphones during a show set in the 50’s.
Not only that, but it was obvious the cast had become used to their
headpieces and when they switched to microphones they were still
moving, dancing and jiving without always singing into the mic. This
meant words were lost and songs were sometimes a bit less powerful
than they would have been without this addition to the show. 
I have to say, the
whole show was a lot of fun and everyone in the audience enjoyed it.
The choreography was some of the best we’ve seen, the set was perfect
for this kind of performance (we loved the car scene and scene
changes in general) and the cast were great. You could tell they were
enjoying themselves and they gave it everything they had.

If you’re an 80’s
child I imagine this movie is engrained on your brain… I still
remember all the kids at school singing the songs and acting out the
parts, and at one stage I remember a group of us at my old girls’
school trying to recreate the iconic movie on the school stage!
Nothing came of it though, but it was fun while it lasted…

I guess that’s the
point of Grease in the first place, isn’t it? Fun! So if you’re a fan
of the film, the music or you’ve never seen it before (where have you
been?!) I can guarantee you’ll have a fantastic night out.
Grease is showing at
Wales Millennium Centre until 20th July 2017, so grab your
tickets now!

Disclosure: I
received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest
and my own.

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