“ Grease is a musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. It takes its name from the 1950s United States working-class youth subculture known as the greasers. The musical, set in 1959 in fictional Rydell High in Chicago, focuses on the romance between high schoolers Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski and tackles such social issues as teenage pregnancy and gang violence; its themes include love, friendship, teenage rebellion, sexual exploration during adolescence and, to some extent, class consciousness/class conflict. „
Last week it was my sisters 9th birthday and she decided that for her birthday she wanted to see a musical. With the whole family being fans of the film grease and the X Factor Grease seemed like the perfect choice.
I booked the tickets using ticketmaster, the whole thing was very quick and easy. I used their online booking form and the tickets were delivered less than a week later.
The ticket prices from ticketmaster were very competitive. We paid £271.50 for five stalls tickets and this included all fees and delivery.
Grease is currently showing at the Piccaddilly Theatre in London.
Getting to the theatre was quite difficult. It's partly our own fault for not printing off a map but we've never had any problem finding theatre's before so we assumed that we could just be pointed in the right direction and find the theatre easily enough. The Piccadilly Theatre is located on what seems to be a little side street and it's quite out of the way so I would definitely recommend using a map.
My initial impression of the threatre was very good. It was like stepping onto the set of grease with the decorations having a 50s theme. The staff were very friendly and helpful and they seemed more relaxed than the staff at other theatres that I've attended. It almost felt very informal and I liked that.
We arrived five minutes before the show was due to start and I was surprised to find that the queues for the bar and the toilets was not very long. We were panicking thinking that we weren't going to be able to get drinks and use the bathroom before the show started but there was really no need to worry. Everything just seemed so organised. My only real complaint is that there isn't really anywhere to queue in the bar. The queue goes out of the door, making it look much longer than it is and it makes it awkward to get in and out of the bar and to the men's toilets (not that I was using them). I think this could have been organised better.
Sitting down to watch the show I was very impressed with our seats. We had a good view and the chairs were very comfortable. As always when I go to the theatre I wished that they had cup holders because it's so awkward balancing a drink on your lap when you want to clap along with the music, especially because they don't put lids on the drinks. Unfortunately it seems like their air conditioning was broken because it was so hot in the theatre. It was a warm day anyway but it felt a lot like sitting in a green house, it was very unpleasant. My sister is only nine and very small for her age so she needed a booster seat. They provided me with a booster seat but charged me £1. I know it's not much but after paying over £50 for her ticket I didn't expect to have to pay more for her to be able to see the show.
I was not impressed with the food and drink. I have no idea if my cola was coca cola or pepsi but it tasted like that cheap stuff you get in tesco. I didn't pay for the drinks but if the food prices are anything to go by it probably wasn't cheap. During the interval I queued up at the bar to get food. The queue wasn't very long but I was quite frustrated when I found out that I could buy my pringles at the bar but would have to queue up again if I wanted ice cream. I paid £3 for 2 small pots of pringles. I then joined the queue for the icecream only to discover that the person had run out of ice cream and I would have to queue again. I thought that it would have been better if the woman selling ice cream had just walked over to the other person selling ice cream and taken half of her stock to sell to the people in her queue, rather than making us all queue up again. When I finally managed to buy some ice cream the choice of flavour was very limited because they had sold out of most flavours and it cost me £3 for each ice cream. I was surprised at how disorganised they were, it was a Saturday night, a hot day, an even hotter theatre and they sold out of ice cream.
As many people will be aware Grease was made into a film based on this musical but the plot of the musical and the film are actually quite different.
Danny and Sandy meet one summer at the beach and have a holiday romance. Sandy is new in town and attends Danny's school but when they meet again, in front of his friends, he won't admit that he has feelings for Sandy. This results in Sandy and Danny alternatively trying to make each other jealous and impress each other. Can Sandy and Danny resolve their differences?
I have to say that overall I wasn't very impressed with this production. I wanted to like it, I love the film and had high expectations for the musical but I just didn't like it. I should point out that my family are divided over this so my opinion probably doesn't represent the majority.
The show felt very flat to me. Being so familiar with all of the songs I thought that it would be one of those musicals that really gets the audience going, where you really feel part of the show but that just wasn't the case. I may as well have been watching it on the television for all the connection I felt with it. At least then I would have been able to switch it off.
I did like the storyline. Of course I was already familiar with it because it is quite similar to the film but there were differences. I don't think these differences added anything to it but they also didn't take anything away from the plot. If anything I think the musical was far more focused on relationships and I thought that this was a good thing. This is a musical about teenagers so it seems realistic that they are focused on sex and who is sleeping with who. Watching the musical I could completely relate it to my own school years, from the boys waiting outside of school to have a fight with people from another school (happened all the time at my school) to the little love triangles and nervousness over asking people out.
Although I liked the storyline it wasn't enough to save this musical from some painful performances.
Ray Quinn plays Danny, leader of the T-Birds. Although his singing is quite good and his dancing is amazing Quinn cannot pull of the role of Danny. His performance is a complete rip off of John Travolta in the film but when Quinn does that accent you can't always understand what he's saying. And Quinn just can't do cool like Travolta could. Perhaps if he had made this role more his own, added some of his own personality to it then it would have worked but he only succeeds in doing a poor imitation of Travolta.
Emma Stephens plays Sandy and I have no idea what they were thinking when they cast her. She sings very well, she can dance but she has completely the wrong look for Sandy. Sandy is supposed to be innocent and naive and Stephens doesn't manage that at all.
The supporting cast are actually very good and I would have been far more entertained if the entire musical had just revolved around them. There are some really amusing scenes involving the supporting cast, the relationships between the other T-Birds and the pink ladies are much more interesting than Danny and Sandy's relationship and the supporting cast have most of the better songs. Whereas Stephens and Quinn can sing and dance but seem to lack any acting skills the supporting cast have it all.
I love the songs from Grease and all of the songs from the film are in the musical with a few extra's in there too. The singing was perhaps the best part of the musical but even the songs were a bit of a disappointment. Quinn's poor attempt at an American accent made some of the songs sound like a cross between someone singing after inhaling helium and a drunken impression of John Travolta. All of the songs sung by Sandy and Danny lacked emotion and seemed lifeless. For me the best performances were Rizzo singing There Are Worse Things I Could Do and Kenickie's Greased Lightning.
Grease the Musical has a lot of potential. There's a good storyline, some great songs and the supporting cast are fantastic but unfortunately with such weak lead actors this musical just wasn't good.
Like most girls my age Grease has played a significant part in my life from the very first time I saw it on video and being all embarrassed by the watermelon dance scene to painstakingly recreating the dance routines every play time and lunch break for the last two years of my primary school.
So when it came to the west end stage I just had to see it, but for one reason or another just didn't make it there, that was until last Monday (26/01/09). My sister bought me tickets for Christmas and boy were we excited.
It is currently in the Piccadilly Theatre which is right by Picadilly Circus Underground station. The tickets prices vary but you can usually get some good deals. We paid £30 for top price stalls on last minute but you can get them as cheap as £15 and as expensive as £65.
The theatre is small but cosy and has a nice feeling about it. They have a wide range of merchandise from pink ladies hoodies and hats to flashing lights and watches. There are two types of program a small basic one for £3.00 and a large book for £6.00.
We were sat four rows from the front and the atmosphere was amazing.
The show opens with the band all in their pink jackets and they play a medley of all the songs from grease.
Then the show started the singing and dancing was phenomenal, It was amazing to watch as twelve dancers are in perfect timing to the very second.
The stage show is based on the film however some of the songs are out of the original sequence and there are added scenes and changes to some of the stroyline. Some are good changes like the addition of a 'shower scene' (you will have to go and see it to find out) other changes I didn't like so much, such as Sandy is a lot more feisty in the stage show and Crater face and his gang are no where to be seen. The actors were brilliant Danny was played by Danny Bayne who was the winner of the show Grease is the word. A show to find the new Danny and Sandy. Sandy is played by Nicola Brazil. My favourite actress by far was Laura Wilson who played Jan, she had a lot more scenes in the show than the film and she was excellent.
I would highly recommend this for a night out with the girls.
because this production is slick! O.K. I have to be honest here, I was perhaps a little bit apprehensive about seeing the show on stage, when like many I had only ever known the Grease the Movie. Apprehensive in much the same way as you go to the cinema to see a film based on a book that you have read and enjoyed - will the portrayal be faithful, will the characters meet with what was in your own minds-eye etc, etc? Going to the theatre to see Grease - the genie was already out of the bottle, so to speak. The huge popularity of the movie was reflected recently in a national survey of televison viewers who voted Grease as the number one in the Nations 100 Best Musicals, testement to this when we caught up with the show at the Regent Theatre Stoke-on-Trent, where for its one week stint, the show rocked to a full house every night, proving its popularity has not yet waned. You have to remember that Grease started on the stage and was not written for the big screen until just over seven years after the first stage performance in 1971 in Chicago. The play was written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, who wanted to capture life as a high school teenager where days centered around tough guys, dating girls and fast cars, all to a real rock and roll theme. The film has been released for such a long time now that I really take it for granted, a bit like expecting the Sound of Music to shown over Christmas, we perhaps moan about it but once in a while you watch it. Grease is shown on TV quite regularly, and has generated renewed interest in our house as a result of our two children watching it with us and wondering how come Mum and Dad know all the songs. Here lies one of the reasons for its tremendous success, the family appeal. Its a good honest storyline - boy meets girl, they fall in love - fall out, make up, happy ever after - set to music. The only other thing I was apprehensive about was my favourite song out o
f the musical is "Beauty School Dropout", the trickery of the movies helping to spin the magic into a true dream scene. So, what did I know about this Paul Nicholas and David Ian production? Nothing is the truthful answer so there were no preconceptions on my part about the show itself. The whole show was really buzzing from the start - the musical production and direction was fantastic, really punchy, the choreography must have been very challenging technically but on performance was really crisp. There were some very powerful vocal performances, none more so than Robbie Scotcher, playing Kenickie, in the song 'Greased Lightening' where the musical and vocal performances came together in one fabulous, and I really mean fabulous performance. Other notable numbers were 'We Go Together', 'Born to Hand Jive', 'Hopelessly Devoted To You' and 'Sandy', all superbly sung and well choreographed. As for my favourite, the dream scene was visually good, but Scotcher as the Teen Angel boomed a bit too much over his backing singers, but I am probably being a bit picky. Ben Richards played Danny and Suzanne Carley played Sandy, no criticism of either but Suzanne could sing better than she could act, not that there is any real 'acting' in the show, the music rightly gets the centre of attention, and we all know the story so well this helps to soften any glitches, not that I noticed any. The show was a real treat for us all, we saw a great show performed to a very high standard in a great atmosphere. A lot of people had made an effort to dress up, Pink Ladies were most in evidence, the odd greaser, but I decided to spare the good folk of Stoke my well oiled quiff, but sang along instead. This show is currently on a UK tour, so if you get the oppurtunity GO SEE IT, and more importantly be a part of it. BP