Grease

Grease is the word Photo by Paul Coltas

Almost 50 years since it was first imagined by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, Grease The Musical still has huge audience appeal, for us oldies who share happy memories of dancing round their bedrooms pretending to be Rizzo mid ‘Sandra Dee’ to a new younger audience who simply can’t resist a bit of Greased Lightnin’.

The original 1994 London production has been revived by producers Paul Nicholas and David Ian ahead of a 10 month long UK and Ireland tour and boasts some big names on the bill, Tom Parker of The Wanted, Danielle Hope, Winner of BBC’s Over The Rainbow, veteran musical theatre star Darren Day and actress Louisa Lytton of Eastenders fame. Add to this direction from David Gilmore and choreography from Arlene Phillips and you have all the ingredients for an audience hit.

Danny & Sandy Photo by Paul Coltas

There were some nerves on show for Tom Parker who makes his musical theatre debut as Danny Zuko, next to cool as a cucumber Danielle Hope who made for an absolutely brilliant Sandy, Parker grew with confidence during the performance and is backed up by an impressive bunch of T-Birds with Michael Cortez giving a charismatic performance as Sonny, Tom Senior a suitably saucy Kenickie and Ryan Heenan and Oliver Jacobson delivering some great comedic moments as Doody and Roger. Of course where we find T-Birds we also find Pink Ladies, Louisa Lytton makes for a great Rizzo, full of attitude and sass her acting ability seriously impresses, while her voice isn’t as strong as the rest of her girl gang her feisty performance and slick dancing embody absolutely the rebellious Rizzo we all know and love so well. Pink Ladies Rhiannon Chesterman (Frenchy), Rosanna Harris (Jan) and Lauren Atkins (Marty) are all exceptional; they each deliver fine performances and suit their roles perfectly.

Grease Vince Photo by Paul Coltas

When the ensemble cast are on stage is when this production is at its absolute best, from bursting onto the stage full of confidence and attitude for Grease Is the Word right through to the classic You’re The One That I Want, Arlene Phillips’ choreography is slick and delivered with precision, the stage literally lights up with each of these brilliantly staged scenes. The school dance scene is particularly impressive with a great performance from Natasha Mould as the infamous Cha Cha. We also see Darren Day as both Teen Angel/Vince, Day’s vocals are strong and he has huge audience appeal however there’s a couple of odd moments where he breaks into a Jim Carey ‘The Mask’ impression then later Austin Powers, something I’d hope is ditched as the show develops it just didn’t fit with the production whatsoever.

Grease T Birds Photo by Paul Coltas

This is a production that delivers some brilliant performances, as the cast grow in confidence over the next ten months it will no doubt develop into a finely greased machine (sorry I couldn’t resist) with ensemble pieces really packing a punch, and sublime vocals from the seriously talented Danielle Hope, Grease is a fabulous fun night out that will leave you on a high, reminiscing about your very own days as a teen angel.

On at The Palace Theatre until Saturday 25th March tickets available via the link below;

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/grease-2017/palace-theatre-manchester/

 

Ali MacGraw & Ryan O’Neal back together in LOVE LETTERS

Ali MacGraw, Ryan O'Neal

Photo credit: Austin Hargrave

Hollywood legends Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal are back together once more to star in the upcoming UK tour of LOVE LETTERS, celebrated playwright A.R. Gurney’s enduring romance about first loves and second chances. Following a critically-acclaimed Broadway run and sell-out US Tour, the production comes to the UK for a twelve-week tour, opening on Monday 11 September 2017 at the Theatre Royal Bath.

Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw are best known for their onscreen pairing in the well-known weepy, Love Story back in 1970 – where Ryan was chosen from more than 300 hopefuls to play the role of Oliver Barrett opposite Ali in the film, proving to be his big break.

47 years on they have another story to tell, in LOVE LETTERS…

Andrew Makepeace Ladd III (O’Neal) wrote his first letter to Melissa Gardner (MacGraw) to tell her she looked like a lost princess; they were both seven years old. For the next fifty years, through personal triumphs and despair, through wars and marriages and children and careers, they poured out their heartfelt secrets to each other. They defied a fate that schemed to keep them apart, and lived for the one most meaningful thing, their undying love for each other.

Producer David Ian said: ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be bringing two such huge stars to the UK in this wonderful and moving play. Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal ‎are true Hollywood legends and it will be very special indeed to see them live on stage together’.

LOVE LETTERS comes to Manchester’s Opera House from 20-25 November 2017.