Bristol Hippodrome

Grease April, 2012...

It was a show-stopping performance of Grease at the Bristol Hippodrome on Tuesday night when part of the scenery fell on the chorus line!

There was a puzzled hush among the audience when the safety curtain unexpectedly descended minutes into the first half on opening night.

But most missed the dramatic moment when part of the scenery collapsed and it was decided the show couldn’t go on – temporarily that is.

However, the professional super troupers were soon back singing and dancing as if nothing had happened after a 10-min break.

Press officer Sarah Milne said: “A few members of the Grease cast suffered mild concussion due to an incident involving a piece of flown scenery.

“As a precautionary measure these cast were cut from the remainder of the show.”

In the official intermission we were told five males and one female dancer were taken off which left the other cast members trying their best to improvise and fill the gaps.

They did really well as you wouldn’t have noticed anything was wrong although there were some dodgy microphones which intermittently affected the sound but I am assured this will be sorted for the rest of the week.

I went with my older daughter who had played the role of the hamster-cheeked, hamburger munching Jan in the Bristol Youth Theatre Workshop production a couple of decades ago.

With middle daughter playing the part of Rizzo at the Sunken Theatre at Ashton Court we knew the stage script backwards as they had spent most of the summer prancing about in our Nailsea garden practising their lines.

So what of the professional cast at the Hippodrome - honestly, no contest they were great and the sell-out audience agreed.

I loved the retro set (it didn’t all fall down), the male characters who displayed a fine Elvis lip curl and hip swerve and there weren’t too many mean girls putting down the saccharin sweet Sandy.

What really stood out was the dancing - it was slick, bunched and full of energy but with Arlene Phillips as the choreographer and the part of Danny taken by a hip-hop champion it is no wonder.In fact a couple of cool characters not sitting to too far away from us tried to mimic the moves standing on their seats before being told in a school marmish tone by the people behind to sit down.

But the show did make you wanna rock 'n' roll in the aisles and the sound of the Grease Lightning motor backfiring with accompanying hot rod fireworks was enougth to make anyone of a nervous disposition turn into sparky jump leads.

I suppose because of staging restrictions the race scene in the film was missing and the pregnancy scare wasn’t played out in the drive-in parking lot but under the neon lights of the teen cafe/diner meeting place.

We heard it was going to be a lot more risque with condoms being thrown around but that didn't happen or I blinked.

 

  • Robin Cousins played to his hopefully devoted Bristol fans in the dream sequence

The biggest cheer of the evening went to former Olympic champion and Dancing On Ice judge Robin Cousins singing Beauty Shop Dropout for the Teen Angel dream sequence.

He was fantastic and obviously had a strong local fan base and by his appearance in the second half there was almost a full complement of backing boys and girls dressed as angelic heavenly bodies on stage with him.

Grease is the original high-school musical featuring everyone's favourite characters – good girl Sandy, greaser Danny, the cool T Birds, the sassy Pink Ladies and the whole gang at Rydell High – with 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' and many more.

Sitting in the stalls were a few women of indeterminate age wearing pink satin zip-up jacket accompanied by Teddy Boy-types.

Often voted the number one greatest musical, this love story bursting with cheerleaders, Brylcream, rock'n'roll, 1950s pop culture and an irresistible mix of teenage angst and young romance, is timeless and universal.

Following its electrifyin' four-year London run, and for the first time in more than five years, the hit West End show began a new tour last spring.It now continues to rock 'n' roll around the UK including its one week stint in Bristol.Danny Bayne, who won ITV's Grease Is The Word in 2007, stars as Danny with Carina Gillespie as his sweetheart Sandy.

The couple follow in the footsteps of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John who famously played the roles in the hit 1978 movie.Grease plays at the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday, April 7.

Tickets cost £13-£40 either online or by calling 0844 847 2325. 

 

Carol Deacon

...and Grease at Nailsea School April, 2012

The musical Grease première at Nailsea School in December 2012 to rave reviews.

Sell-out audiences were transported back to 1950s for a four-night run of the classic Broadway show.

With a cast and crew ranging from Year 7 to Year 13 the production was a real collaborative effort with more than 100 students involved in either performing, playing instruments or helping with PA, lighting, hair, make-up and props.

Sandy was played by Year 13 student Elise Cockerton, giving a beautiful rendition of Hopelessly Devoted To You with Year 12 student Finn Shepperd-Jones leading the T-Birds in the role of Danny.

Alexandra Knight followed up her starring role in last year’s performance of Hairspray playing the feisty character of Rizzo and Year 9 Joel Rothwell continuing his run of roles in Oliver and Hairspray by playing the fun character Kenickie with great confidence.Making their Nailsea School debut were Year 7 students Benjamin Jeffrey playing Doody and Connor Hammond as Roger, who made the audience roar with laughter with his hilarious rendition of the song Mooning.The entertainment continued during the interval with Year 8 student Hollie Cox playing Miss Lynch and ordering the audience ‘back to class’ by threatening them with detention.Kenickie's Greased Lightning came courtesy of a hi-tech electric Renault Twizy car loaned by City Motors Bristol.Head teacher David New said: “To get a standing ovation on the first night was a sensational performance, but it just got better every night and by Friday night it was amazing. 

“I am so impressed by the talent that we have at Nailsea School, and by the way everyone in the production supported and encouraged one another.

“I would also like to say a huge thank you to the sponsors at Renault who loaned an electric car for the stage.

“Greased Lightning has never been so eco-friendly.”

Producer and musical director Lynda Perkins said: “The production was a great success; parents, teachers and students alike were delighted with the result.

“Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible.”

Parent Madeline Middleton who played the part of Rizzo in the Bristol Youth Theatre Workshop run at the sunken theatre at Ashton Court in the 1960s was really impressed.

She said: "The four girls who played Sandy, Rizzo, Jan and Marti made the show with their singing voices - Sandy in particular was amazing.

"The electric car was hilarious in the drive-in movie scene and on the big screen they were showing a Werewolf In Nailsea film which was technically fantastic.

"Full marks to the young actors, musicians and backstage crew."

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