Review: Grease - You’re the one that I wanted to see
PUBLISHED: 15:36 06 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:48 06 June 2017
There might not be much summer around at the moment but there was certainly plenty of lovin’ when the Greased Lightnin’ hotrod pulled into the Bristol Hippodrome last night.
Grease was the word indeed on everyone’s lips as they filed into the theatre, full of expectation of slicked quiff hairstyles, blue suede shoes, twirly skirts, cardigans and 1950s rock ‘n’ roll music which has become synonymous with one of the world’s favourite musicals.
In fact there were a few audience members dressed suitably for the occasion, making me wish I’d thought to wear my pink leather jacket slung over my shoulder so I could be one of the Pink Lady gang.
Grease the musical opened on Broadway in 1972 but it was when it was later made into a movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in 1978, that it was propelled into universal notoriety.
For those of you who are not familiar with the story it is set in a 1950s all-American high school and tells the love story of Sandy and Danny, and what life at Rydell High School is like for their respective gangs, the sassy Pink Ladies and the grease-monkey T Birds.
The star-studded cast includes boy-band The Wanted singer Tom Parker as Danny, TV talent competition-winner Danielle Hope, who won the BBC’s Over The Rainbow talent show, as Sandy and former EastEnders actor Louisa Lytton as Rizzo.
Hope turned out to be by far the strongest singer in the opening night performance, belting out the iconic songs Hopelessly Devoted to You, You’re The One That I Want, Summer Nights and the lesser-known It’s Raining On Prom Night effortlessly.
Parker has obvious enjoyment in playing the part of Danny, with his exaggerated swagger and false laugh and tried desperately to capture the charisma of John Travolta in the film during the humorous moments but fell a bit short I felt.
In fact, the whole first half seemed a bit lacklustre, as if the cast were still rehearsing, instead of performing for an actual audience and the audience struggled to engage with the songs as the sound didn’t seem up to par.
But luckily it all picked up after the interval and the cast began to feed off the enthusiasm of the audience at last.
And of course it was left to the global pop superstar that is Jimmy Osmond to completely steal the show with his stellar performance as Teen Angel and that he certainly did.
I have to admit I was whooping with delight along with many of my fellow audience members at his hilarious playing up to the adoration of the crowd.
Who knew at the age of five or six looking at stickers of the Osmonds next to ones of David Cassidy and Michael Jackson on my bedroom door that I would be watching ‘little’ Jimmy Osmond on stage one day? (I have also had the pleasure of seeing his peer David Cassidy in the West End too I have to add!)
Other memorable performances came from Lytton, best known for playing Ruby Allen in EastEnders, who was perfect for the part of the sassy Rizzo, Tom Senior who was great as Kenickie, Ryan Keenan as Doody and Callum Evans as the hapless Eugene.
The choreography was particularly faultless, with the cast and dancers energetically leaping around and hand-jiving in perfect synchronisation which was the glue which held the whole performance together.
The audience gleefully joined in the renditions of the iconic songs Grease Is The Word, Sandy and Greased Lightning which have made the story of teenage angst withstand the test of time.
A more thoroughly feel-good musical would be difficult to find and audiences will love it.
Grease will be at The Bristol Hippodrome, in St Augustines Parade, until Saturday. There will be performances at 7.30pm tonight until Thursday, 5.30pm and 8.30pm on Friday and 5pm and 8.30pm on Saturday.
Tickets, priced £21-51.50, are available via www.atgtickets.com or on 08448 717627.