Grease The Musical has been revived and it just missed being electrifyin’ at Birmingham Hippodrome last night.
The original production of Grease opened in Chicago back in 1971, and has since evolved over time, it was picked up for film and released in 1978 and it’s now on another UK tour following its last production in 2017.
The well known 1978 film starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John – In 2017, Grease took up residency at the Hippodrome for a number of weeks with Tom Parker and Danielle Hope leading the cast. In the revamped version of Grease The Musical that’s arrived in Birmingham, the cast is now led by Dan Partridge and Martha Kirby as Danny and Sandy.
Directed by Nikolai Foster, the new production shakes up the original story in numerous ways, and misses classical scenes like the drag race (which the 2017 production featured) and when Frenchy accidentally dyed her hair bright pink when she had trouble in her tinting class at the Beauty School. But with that said, the sets didn’t disappoint as the sports hall in Rydell High, the car garage, and the Burger Palace were colourful and spectacular, and faultlessly transitioned between scenes as the cast told the story of T-Bird Danny and his sweetheart Sandy and the obstacles they faced in their school life.
From the huge choreographed numbers like ‘Greased Lightning’ (where the car literally defied gravity) to the stripped back and powerful ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’, leads Dan Partridge and Martha Kirby had remarkable vocals and stage presence.
Act 1 got off to a very slow start and we felt ourselves getting bored with the lack of music or dance numbers (it is a musical after all). We were treated to hits such as ‘Summer Nights’, ‘Greased Lightnin” and ‘Sandra Dee’ but nothing really gave us the wow factor, so our expectations were low for the second half.
Act 2 made up for the unstimulating first half with fanastically choreographed dance scenes like the ‘Hand Jive’ and ‘You’re the One That I Want’ – the cast delivered an energetic, fast-paced and mesmerising performance (even smiling through the gruelling dance competition).
Grease The Musical starts slow but delivers by the end a sensational and catchy performance – Not forgetting for one song only Peter Andre as the dreamy Teen Angel. Despite not being able to hear him throughout his number (as the Birmingham crowd wouldn’t stop screaming from start to finish of the song), we did manage to hear Pete hit one high note in ‘Beauty School Dropout’.
Peter told press before hitting the stage last night: “The people have always been so friendly to me here and I think Birmingham will love the show,” and he wasn’t wrong.
Lastly, an honourable mention.
Louis Gaunt’s Kenickie and Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky’s Betty Rizzo were astonishing accurate to the films representation of the characters and had pitch perfect vocals and gave Dan and Martha a (good) run for their money.
Our review of Grease The Musical is awarded 3 stars out of 5. ★★★
Runs at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday, August 24.
Grab your tickets for Grease The Musical in Birmingham here.