A red hot cast deliver a thoroughly energetic production of Grease that is guaranteed to melt away any winter blues.
It may be December, but Summer Lovin’ is in the air at Leicester Curve.
Grease is the story of lovebirds Sandy and Danny, who by chance arrive at the same school on the first day of the new year. In a new era where being ‘cool’ is what it’s all about, their friends don’t exactly make it easy for love to blossom. It’s a roller-coaster ride for them all, as high schools are, but of course love comes through in the end – with a lot of fun along the way.
The set is a stripped back, well lit, visual spectacle of it’s own. An expert production team set a perfect backdrop for events on stage, with (largely) slick scene changes and making full use of the world class facilities at the theatre.
This brings us to the action on stage. The standard is set from the first scene. Actors who are in character long before the show commences burst into life with a strong opening of Grease is the word.
Though it’s mixed up a little to suit the production, all your favourites are in: Summer Nights, Freddy My Love, Greased Lightning, We Go Together, Hand Jive, Hopelessly devoted to you, You’re the one that I want and many more – meaning that no Grease mega-fan will leave disappointed. The production offers a few extra numbers that are sometimes dropped from other versions.
Choreography is the definition of electrifying. Nick Winston has choreographed fast, sharp and challenging dance routines that the cast absolutely smash – much to the audience’s delight.
Every single character is more than likeable, every actor sublime in their performance. The depth of talent in this young cast is clear to see.
Djalenga Scott is incredible as Rizzo – harnessing the stregnth and vunerability of the character perfectly in a genuinely dazzling performance opposite one of my favourite ever versions of Kinickie, a strong role for Jonny Fines.
Dex Lee makes a slick Danny Zuko, really making the most of the comedy moments and is the epitome of cool – alongside a stunning Sandy, played beautifully by Jessica Paul, who you truly feel for through the production before she wows in the finale.
There are many side stories in the production – one of which has been captured so very well by Natalie Woods and Sam Murphy (Jan and Roger) as they get together. Woods is hilarious in her role – one particular moment attempting to sit on a gymnastics horse/bench highlighting the talent that she is. Exceptional.
Shobna Gulati is no stranger to the professional theatre scene these days, most recently in Mamma Mia. Miss Lynch is a superb role for her in which she shines as much as any role I have scene her in recently. A true professional in a well suited role.
The absolute highlight of the show for me, (other than seeing the absolute delight of the cast’s faces at the very end where the audience sang their lyrics for them!) was the Hand Jive scene. A full-on, energetic, exciting and high quality scene was sensational. An absolute treat to watch. Darren Bennet does a superb job as Vince Fontaine, particularly in this scene.
None of this would be possible without such a clear idea of the show from the outset and exceptional direction from Nikolai Foster. From the style of the production, through to the incredible detail – this cast clearly appreciate and deliver the vision and along with a super Musical Director, Live Band, Stage team and tech have brought a truly high quality production to Curve.
Every cast member is deserving of a review of their own in truth and I could write about this show all day.
Audiences will have an amazing time this festive season as they treat themselves to this stunning production. I challenge anybody not to sing along at the end of the mega-mix. You absolutely have to buy your tickets today.
I will be going to see it again. It’s not often a theatre reviewer says that.
GREASE plays Leicester Curve until Saturday 21st January. To book tickets visit: www.curveonline.co.uk
Photography by Manuel Harlan
If you’d like a sneaky peak at what’s to come before you go along, take a look at Curve’s preview video below.