‘It don’t matter if you win or lose, it’s what you do with those dancing shoes’, says DJ Vince Fontaine in Grease, and his words could not have been more apt for this musical that had devotees bobbing in their seats and singing along to every word, while on stage a young cast danced and sang more or less non-stop from start to finish, writes Michael Holland.
The students at Rydell High School are returning after the summer break and new girl Sandy finds the boy she fell in love with at the beach is top dog with the girls in school, who all want a piece of Danny Zuko. Not to show his soft, loving side Danny snubs Sandy and thereby holds on to his stag reputation. And that’s all you need to know about what happens before the big ‘You’re The One That I Want’ finish.
The plot is basic, a 5 year old could follow it, but that is not a slur on Grease. The story of how a local group of girls and boys intermingle and canoodle with each other is told in song, and those songs are of the highest quality. I had not seen Grease before, simply because when the Travolta – Newton-John film came out I thought I was too cool for (High) school, but in those 40 intervening years it is impossible not to hear and grow to love those songs. Now I see how they all fit together to make a very pleasing whole.
The set was good, the singing and dancing was great, the band were phenomenal and there was even a cameo by Peter Andre as Teen Angel, which went down very well with his fans wearing Pink Ladies jackets and drinking pink gins in the audience.
Grease is magnificent ensemble piece, but a couple of people stood out for me: Darren Bennett as Vince Fontaine, and Damian Buhagiar acting up an excellent ‘little man syndrome’ as Sonny Latieri. This is a lightweight, fluffy marshmallow musical and that is all part of its greatness.
Churchill Theatre, High Street, Bromley, BR1 1HA until 12th October. 020 3285 600.
Photos: Manuel Harlan