THERE’S a new upbeat medley at the start of the show, from the band and MD. But they are playing behind Perspex walls that either need cleaning, or replacing. Which says a lot about the current state of this production.

I love Grease. But this current tour has mutated from a classic nostalgic romp into a megamix monster, relentlessly up-tempo (including Beauty School Dropout) so that the inevitable medley can lurch back in the extended curtain call.

Characters have become sloppy and weakened by months on the road. Louisa Lytton seemed to be phoning in Rizzo, especially ‘Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee’ which was met by a moment of stunned…Is that it? There is some nice singing which evokes the fifties, but alas, very limited falsetto. Danielle Hope is a very sweet Sandy.

Loading article content

Our crowd-pulling hero is Tom ‘The Wanted’ Parker as Danny Zuko. His biog doesn’t identify any previous acting / musical experience. He works hard but there is zero chemistry between him and Sandy. Similarly, ‘Mooning’ the duet from Roger and Jan, while sweetly sung by Oliver Jacobson goes for a cent. There’s too much ‘I got a laugh doing this, once. I know, I’ll do it again, but much bigger’ going on and it wrecks any chances of emotional connection.

I would also question the casting of such a young guy as Vince Fontaine (George Olney, who also plays Teen Angel). Surely the point of Vince is the slightly sleazy power he wields over money-obsessed Marty?

There’s also a lot of random boob and bum grabbing, which in the current climate seems particularly tasteless. Teen Angel’s scene, which should be a dazzling dream of high camp is reduced to a puny little wire staircase.

All the grit and all the goofy glitter is gone. I miss you, Grease.

Sarah Scott