Entertainment Hive 2020

Grease The Musical

Adelaide Festival Centre, until August 31

Review by Honey B

There's no denying that Grease is certainly a party musical and that's where a lot of the charm for this version of the John Frost production lies. It's a high-energy show with plenty of slick sparkle, a rockin' seven-piece band and a young cast full of enthusiasm. What this production ultimately lacks is grit and attitude. The original edge of the 1971 musical has been softened over the years - it's less street gang teenage revolution/provocative and more sweet, tongue-in-cheek fun. Gretel Scarlett and Rob Mills as Sandy and Danny respectively are both extremely likeable but there could have been even more sizzle between the pair. Scarlett showed her impressive vocal chops on the classic Hopelessly Devoted To You and Mills' vocals have grown impressively since his early days in musical theatre. Scarlett's Sandy has a bit of spark to her at times, but it's Lucy Maunder as Rizzo who steals the show. Maunder is never out of character no matter where she is on-stage, she's always there with a trademark Rizzo snarl and she just has attitude to burn. Her version of There Are Worse Things I Could Do was a true stand-out. In a short four minutes, Todd McKenney as Teen Angel rose above the rest and gave his all for Beauty School Dropout. He was sassy and sparkly and he left the audience wanting more. One to watch out for is Francine Cain as Frenchy as she stood out amongst the other Pink Ladies. While Stephen Mahy as Kenickie was also a strong figure on-stage. One bit of casting that was quite confusing was that of Bert Newton as DJ Vince Fontaine - he was too old to be cast in this role and it was a bit creepy during the dance scene. That said, the ensemble was fantastic and it's heartening to see the depth of talent on the stage and they all received a standing ovation from the opening night audience. Really, when it comes down to it the driving force of this show is the music, fun, colour and movement and to that end Grease The Musical goes the miles and a bit more.
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