Theatre Review: GREASE – Opera House, Manchester

GREASE THE MUSICAL hand jives it’s way to Manchester’s Opera House for an evening of fun, audience vocal participation and bum shaking

4.5 out of 5 stars

It is 43 years to the day that YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT was top of the UK and US Billboard charts. I know this as it number one the day I was born and tonight’s show hits that anniversary too!

GREASE THE MUSICAL hand jives it’s way to Manchester’s Opera House with special guest star Peter Andre playing selected dates as the ethereal Teen Angel and quirky, animated radio announcer, Vince Fontaine respectively.

This particular production is truer to the original Chicago premiere than other versions, with the T-Birds referred to as the Burger Palace Boys, and Sandy’s character being the American Sandy Dumbrowski rather than Olivia Newton-John’s Australian Sandy Olson.

Sandy, played by Ellie Kingdon, in her professional debut, was pitch perfect. She plays the virginal and transformed character of Sandy extremely well, and her rendition of HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO YOU bringing the house down.

The part of Danny Zuko is filled by Art Educational London alumni, Dan Partridge , winner of the Best Actor award at the THIS IS ENGLAND film festival.

Dan brings real energy to the part, with a great singing voice and dance moves to match. The hand jive scene at the Rydell Halloween bash is high octane and has the whole theatre bouncing around animatedly in their seats.

Frenchy and Sonny, played by Tara Sweeting and Christian Zaccarini are stand out comedic favourites of the evening, alongside the stellar jocular performance from Peter Andre himself, of course.

The Pink Ladies are also as sassy as you’d like, with Betty Rizzo’s character being the central bad girl, Tendai Rinomhota belting out THERE ARE WORSE THINGS I COULD DO with such emotion that there are a few teary eyes in the auditorium.

Choreography on this production is by showbiz legend Arlene Phillips and long time professional, associate choreographer Richard Roe.

With plenty of the original musical’s salty and slightly vulgar attitude, the script is pretty true to the Travolta and Newton-John 1978 movie script, with the addition of some of the tracks from the original musical’s score, a treat for audience members not familiar outside of the film itself.

The whole casts’ vocals were on point, with revivals of the original score adapted by Sarah Travis, beautifully for the stage, with classic 1950’s harmonies mixed with a more modern take from the live orchestra led by Musical Director Dan Glover.

Directed by Nikolai Foster, of Leicester’s Curve Theatre, where this production began in 2016, this run is a game changer for die hard GREASE fans across the UK.

If you fancy yourself an evening of fun, audience vocal participation and bum shaking in your seat then book yourself some tickets for this run, you won’t be disappointed!