PHOTO: The 2021 cast of Grease by Sean Ebsworth Barnes
Grease: You’re the one that I want!
After a whirlwind summer romance, leather-clad greaser Danny and girl-next-door Sandy are unexpectedly reunited when she transfers to Rydell High for her senior school year.
Queues back to the Bristol Beacon (formerly Colston Hall) on Thursday night included perfectly pruned Pink Ladies, several sexy Sandys and many motorbike jacketed Dannys.
Grease was back at the Bristol Hippodrome with a much revamped and gritty stage version based on the film musical set in 1959 centring on the rekindling of love between good girl Sandra Dee and a bad boy Danny Zuko.
A 15-minute delay due to a first aid incident didn’t deter the overwhelming sense of anticipation in the buzzing audience.
The opening scenes saw slightly detectible nerves, as a youthful cast newly returned from lockdown faced the expectant full house.
And for understudy Ellie Kingdon who tells her Twitter followers that just 24 hours earlier she stepped into the role of Rizzo it was understandable to be nervous.
Peter Andre, starring as Teen Angel and Vince Fontaine, brought an increased sense of energy and excitement to the show with professional performances and strong vocals.
His rendition of Beauty School Drop Out received screams and cheers from a predominantly female audience.
Stand out performances also came from Josh Barnett and Maeve Byrne, as Roger and Jan, who bought chemistry and comedy to their rendition of Mooning.
This feelgood musical with iconic, classic songs makes it a multi-generational must.
For me, it was a magical dream in the Teen Age sequence which saw Peter Andre with pink streaked hair singing and dancing with Frenchie (Marianna Neofitou) as she contemplated her future that was a lasting moment.
Impressive and believable American accents closely resembled the film characters they were portraying.
The staging for the touring show was relatively simplistic and moved from gymnasium to, bedroom to diner with ease.
There were also strong performances from all the Pink Ladies and Burger Palace Boys led by Danny (Dan Partridge) although the fusion with Sandy (Ellie Kingdon) did lack some of the dynamic chemistry needed to make the romance totally believable.
It was the impressive choreography from Arlene Phillips combined with legendary score and colourful costumes that made the show.
Although the Hippodrome’s acoustics and some technical sound challenges impacted on some of the solo performances.
Permission to stand and join in the final encore with a whole-cast musical medley was the perfect end to this enjoyable musical classic.
By the end of the night, hoarse voices cascaded into the street for some Summer Lovin’ (well, autumn anyway).
I can’t help wondering what the other Sandy was like and if the show would have the same energy on the nights Peter Andre is absent?
Mum of two and former Clevedon Mercury journalist Laura Durrant is Peter Andre's number one fan.
She said: "My first show at the Hippodrome for almost 2 years!
"I’ve missed the theatre so much.
"And what a treat to come back to!
"He was brilliant.
"Now...how do I find his dressing room?"
PREVIEW: Grease the musical is live at Bristol Hippodrome from Tuesday to Saturday, September 21-25.
The producers of the first new production in 25 years of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s iconic musical Grease, have been working hard to reschedule the 2021 dates of the UK tour.
The musical was due to tour in 2020 but had to be postponed due to COVID-19.
Directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, the 2021 tour will now begin at Curve, Leicester this summer.
Following his success starring in the UK and Ireland tour in 2019, Peter Andre will star in the 2021 tour at certain venues including Bristol.
As well as reprising the role of Teen Angel, Andre will also play Vince Fontaine.
Peter Andre said "I was so thrilled to have been returning to Grease this year as I had the most wonderful time on the last tour working with our incredible cast and creative team, I can’t wait to get back out there performing with them.
"Grease is joyous and will truly allow you to escape to a different time, with show-stopping dance routines and some of the most iconic songs of all time.
"It's a show about solidarity and it celebrates friendship, which is even more important now with how the past 12 months have been.
"As the song goes, We Go Together!"
Peter Andre is known for his successful music and television career and became the sixth highest selling artist in the UK in the 1990s with number one hits such as Mysterious Girl, Flava and I Feel You.
He has had two number one albums and has toured all over the world, collecting a multitude of national and international awards.
Peter’s many TV shows and appearances, include his reality show Peter Andre: My Life, 60 Minute Makeover and the third series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here in 2004.
Grease originally opened in Chicago in 1971, followed by a move to Broadway in 1972, where it received seven Tony Award nominations, including one for Best Musical.
During the show's eight-year run, at the time, little known actors including Peter Gallagher, Patrick Swayze and John Travolta all appeared in the production, with Richard Gere understudying many roles before going on to star as Danny Zuko in the 1973 London premiere.
The 1978 film adaptation starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John is the fourth highest-grossing live action musical of all time and celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.
The musical features beloved songs, including Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’, Hopelessly Devoted To You and You’re The One That I Want.
In the early 1990s Bristol Youth Theatre Workshop performed the ironic musical in the Sunken Garden at Ashton Court with many North Somerset 'stars' among the cast - see photo below.
Grease designs are by Colin Richmond, orchestrations and musical supervision by Sarah Travis, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Tom Marshall and 2021 tour casting by Kay Magson CDG, with original tour casting by David Grindrod CDG.This production of Grease is produced by Colin Ingram, InTheatre Productions, Donovan Mannato,
What the critics say:
Deserves credit for putting the grit back in Grease -
The one that you want this season -
This production has glamour and grit -
A spectacularly staged musical bursting with energy - THE STAGE
Playing Field, William Sinclair, Hunter Arnold, Araca and Curve.
After a whirlwind summer romance, leather-clad greaser Danny and girl-next-door Sandy are unexpectedly reunited when she transfers to Rydell High for senior year.
But can they survive the trials and tribulations of teenage life and find true love once more?
Why go and see it?
The world’s best-loved musical is back! Grittier and more glamorous than ever!
With its phenomenal score, bursting with hits including Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’, Hopelessly Devoted to You and You’re the One That I Want, this thrilling new version is brought to life by a fresh young cast who bring energy, vitality and passion to this ultimate musical classic.
Directed by Curve’s artistic director Nikolai Foster and starring very special guest artist – Peter Andre as Teen Angel and Vince Fontaine – reignite your passion and get ready for an explosion of summer loving.
So round-up your Burger Palace Boys, pick up your Pink Ladies and re-discover why Grease really is the one that you want this term!
For tickets from £13 subject to a transaction fee of £3.65 go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/grease/bristol-hippodrome/.