REVIEW | Grease the Musical electrifies​ at Birmingham Hippodrome

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It’s one of the most iconic movies of all time, but as Grease transforms from screen to stage, does it still manage to carry the nostalgic story of a group of teenagers who are just trying to make it through high school?

It’s been two years since the electrifyin’ hit musical graced the stage of the Hippodrome, but this brand new production has arrived with more jazz hands and jives than you could possibly imagine.

Grease is something that is so treasured by so many, so I couldn’t help but ponder on whether I was about to watch the same old thing that I’ve seen from my living room sofa, just live on a stage. I soon found I that I was wrong; this production is energetic, fast-paced and incredibly good fun – all the key ingredients you need for a fantastic show. 

Peter Andre as Teen Angel. Credit Manuel Harlan

We all know the story of goody two shoes Sandy Dumbrowski and bad boy Danny Zuko, who fall head over heels in love with each other during a summer fling. But when Sandy ends up transferring to Rydell High, she reunites with Danny to discover he’s simply not the same person.

Beyond the teen’s troubled romance, the story of Grease touches on some pretty serious issues: teen pregnancies, politics and pressurised relationships that most of us probably overlook when we sit back and watch the feel-good film starring John Travolta and Oliva Newton John.

Dan Partridge as Danny & Louis Gaunt as Kenickie (front) and the T-Birds. Credit Manuel Harlan.

While the soundtrack remains true to its roots, there is much to be said about the set, as Grease the Musical is as much as a treat for the eyes as it is for the ears. Whether it’s the sports hall, the car garage, or the Burger Palace, the set designs are full of colour, while seamlessly changing without a hiccup, bringing the show well and truly to life.

Of course, the production wouldn’t be complete without a cast, and this set of performers certainly don’t disappoint. Dan Partridge is utterly charming as the stylish Danny Zuko, oozing charisma, and his unparalleled vocals make for some seriously impressive solo performances. Martha Kirby is equally as fantastic as Sandy. Her vocals in Hopelessly Devoted were utterly sensational, and I only wish I could have seen her more on stage.

Martha Kirby as Sandy and Dan Partridge as Danny. Credit Manuel Harlan

For me, the star of the show was Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky, who was unbeatably sassy as the leading Pink Lady, Betty Rizzo. She delivered every inch of her vocals with such power and emotion, and certainly didn’t hold back in stepping into the shoes of her role. Rizzo’s story is a challenging one, and McCalsky did a fantastic job of telling it.

Rhianna-Louise McCaulsky as Rizzo. Credit Manuel Harlan

The supporting cast too were sensational. This is a cast that appear to gel really well, and therefore making the show even more enjoyable from beginning to end, blending comedy with severity in the most effortless way. And as for Peter Andre as Teen Angel, his appearance may have been short and sweet with the audience left patiently waiting until the second half of the production to see him, yet it came as no surprise that he was still met with thunderous applause.

Sure to put a spring in your step and have you singing along from beginning to end, Grease the Musical is a fantastically fun show that I’m sure will continue to entertain its audience for many years to come.

Grease the Musical runs at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday, August 24. Click here to book your tickets.

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