REVIEW: Grease @The Palace Theatre, Manchester

grease-manchesterVoted the “Number One Greatest Musical”, Grease begins a national tour at the Palace Theatre, Manchester.

It’s the original high-school musical featuring a host of favourite characters – Sandy, Danny, the groovy T Birds, the sassy Pink Ladies and the whole gang at Rydell High – and all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie including You’re The One That I Want, Grease Is The Word, Summer Nights, Hopelessly Devoted to You, Sandy, Greased Lightnin’.

But for the show is to completely live up to audience expectations, there is some definite room for improvement if it is to make the grade.

Boy band star, Tom Parker from The Wanted plays Danny Zuko and I can’t help thinking that maybe the role is a little too big for some-one making his musical theatre debut.

The vocals and stage presence were sadly lacking in what should be a pivotal role in the production. If I’m being generous, I’d say nerves got the better of him. He seemed to improve as we reached the show’s finale with a good rendition of You’re The One That I Want. Hopefully he will grow into the role as the run progresses.

But the production needs to crank up a gear and inject a little more energy.

However, there were some more than competent performances from Over the Rainbow winner Danielle Hope as Sandy and Louisa Lytton’s Rizzo, who impressed in her performance of There Are Worse Things I Could Do.

But it was musical theatre veteran Darren Day, who really showed them how to do it in dual role of DJ Vince Fontaine and Teenangel. It was clear he still knows how to work a crowd and milk a performance for all its worth.

Completing the cast are Tom Senior as Kenickie, Michael Cortez as Sonny, Oliver Jacobson as Roger, Ryan Heenan as Doody, Callum Evans as Eugene, Lauren Atkins as Marty, Rosanna Harris as Jan, Rhiannon Chesterman as Frenchy, Gabriella Williams as Patty and Ailsa Davidson as Lynch. The ensemble includes Charlotte Coggin, Anthony Hughes, Alessia McDermott, Natasha Mould, Anna Murray, George Olney, Rory Phelan and Grant Thresh.

Runs till Saturday March 25

Dave Toomer

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