Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews



The Curve , Wales Millennium Centre , October 15, 2019
Grease by The Curve This was a wonderful, fast moving, ensemble production with some great innovative choreography from queen of the dance, Arlene Phillips, but it was more than a great ensemble piece. The rapport and sheer enjoyment that all the cast was sharing with each other bounced across the ‘footlights’ and captivated us all.

We are transported back to the Fifties and we are all invited by the show’s creators, Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, to enrol into Rydell High School. Us ‘boys’ invited to put on our leather jackets and the girls to get into their wide flared skirts. It’s the beginning of the problems of young love emerging and the start of Rock and Roll. Neil MacDonald’s on-stage band captures the era perfectly and director, Nikolai Foster hits that fifty’s nail right on the head.

As Danny Zuko there are moments when the sensitivity of Dan Partridge’s singing does start to raise the neck hairs and Martha Kirby as Sandy brings an engaging touch of sensitivity to her role. Kirby has a great voice that fills the auditorium with a very exciting touch.

Every member of the cast brings their own touches of humour. Early on, it hurts but there is also a funny side to the sequence where all girls get together and try to bring Sandy out, get her to smoke and afterwards roughly pierce her ear. These girls are all members of the Pink Lady group- it must be a ‘world-wide’ club. There were many ‘Pink Ladies’ in the audience.

Back on stage Rizzo, who does the ‘Sandra Dee’ song, was glowing in a very funny and engaging performance by Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky. Eloise Davies’ Frenchy was another, catching our eyes and serving up lots of fun.

‘Greased Lightening’, a rusty old car has been acquired by Kenickie, played by Louis Gaunt, as well as driving a car he is a great dancer, sometimes very fast moving but he slows down a bit when he brings a new girlfriend Cha Cha to the school dance, a smooth slinky performance by Abigail Climer.

Danny immediately ‘steals’ Cha Cha and they win the hand jive dance completion. The competition has been organised by DJ Vince Fontaine, Darren Bennett, who for most of the evening has been in his DJ box high above the stage. Down on stage, he, with everyone else wearing angel wings, is so funny, a comedy vignette of his own for which he is warmly well rewarded at the curtain call.

There’s a false pregnancy, the beginnings of a gang fight. Eventually Sandy and Danny dance together and the story draws to its happy end as they tell us in song “ You’re the One That I Want”

The whole company give us a gutsy final dance and lead us in a song reprise, most of the ‘fifties’ people in the audience know the words. Soon we are all up on our feet for a wonderful full-house hand jive finish.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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