Tuesday, 24 October 2017

I've Got My Ticket... Grease - The Musical

Without hardly any thought into it I would say that my favourite on-screen couple has to be Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson.

 

Of course, these are the two lead characters famously played by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the extremely well known film that is Grease. Their love story truly is 'electrifying!' (Sorry, I just had to get that in somewhere) and I was very keen on catching the musical version when it arrived in a nearby city as part of its UK tour.

I was even more eager for the October date to arrive when it was announced that the role of Danny would be played by Tom Parker of boy band The Wanted. Plus, with it being my birthday shortly before I had the perfect excuse to sing along a little more than usual - and possibly dance too.

Everything you need to know about Grease the musical and my overall star rating.
 
Show Name: Grease - The Musical
Venue: The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Performance Dates: Monday 23rd October – Saturday 28th October 2017
Starring: Tom Parker, Danielle Hope, Gabriella Williams, Louisa Lytton
 Directed by: David Gilmore
Musical Staging and Choreography by: Arlene Phillips

Brief Information:
Travel back to the 1950's and attend a high school where there is always something exciting happening. The arrival of Sandy, a new exchange student, gets classmates talking. At the beginning this is because of her squeaky-clean image, but when she is seen canoodling with the confident Danny Zuko everyone soon wants to know much more about her.

Next, Sandy finds herself hanging around with the coolest of personalities, including those belonging to the sassy 'Pink Ladies', building her confidence along the way - All in the lead-up to a very big transformation.

Prior to the show:
Although I had admired northern lad Tom's voice on the tracks that he released with The Wanted, it did cross my mind if that same husky voice I’d come to love would be up to scratch for some of the high notes John Travolta hits, particularly in 'Summer Nights'.

I had actually never heard the singing vocals of neither theatre-trained Danielle Hope (Sandy) or Ex-Eastenders actress Louisa Lytton, who was playing the feisty Rizzo before, which meant that it was going be a surprise entirely to me how their voices would compare with the original stars. 

What did you like?
A fantastic live band opened the show, demonstrating their expertise on their musical instruments. The first song 'Grease is the Word' came next with tons of energy from a bunch of the students. The stage settings were also a fabulous inclusion, with many being a variety of locations easily recognisable in American schools.

Whilst there were plenty of merry tunes throughout the entire shows duration time, it was also indeed nice paying attention to the slower classics, such as 'Hopelessly Devoted to You'. This was beautifully sung as a solo act by Gabriella Williams who filled in for Danielle Hope, which was the name advertised as playing the part of Sandy initially. Louisa Lytton also portrayed her role of Rizzo brilliantly, not toning down her bold character at all.

Tom Parker still managed to include a little sign of his boy band days with The Wanted, rocking out with skill on an electric guitar whilst stood upon a blinged-out car for 'Grease Lightning'. Though I think that there aren't many of us who wouldn't not know at least a single dance action to this individual song, from watching the film the dance routine to 'Born to Hand Jive' appears to be much more complicated. The whole cast however seemed to have no difficulty at all, performing these rhythmic movements flawlessly on this certain musical number and in each of the others too.

The clothing and hairstyles of the 50's decade certainly stood out in each scene and, speaking of trendy looks, Sandy's makeover towards the end was just that. Soon after, the performances of 'You're the One That I want' and a medley of other Grease songs followed and, like the saying goes, these were "the icing on the cake". 

Grab your best friend for an afternoon or evening out, treat a young cousin (recommended eight years +), tell your uncle to throw on his dancing shoes - or why not bring along all three! Just like the smash-hit film, this cheerful musical will appeal to almost anyone.

What would you change?
As I've said already I love Tom's voice as a singer, but unfortunately it couldn't stretch to compete with John Travolta on that ending high note in 'Summer Nights'. Obviously neither Tom, nor I can adjust his vocal range to do so, but this and the fact that some of the songs were played in a different order to the film were two minor faults that I felt should be mentioned. 

My star rating out of five: 

Find out more about Grease - The Musical, including ticket prices and performance times:

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