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Review BH Grease 2021

Summer loving
Review BH Grease 2021

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 centering 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.
" do I find his dressing room?"

Clare Smith

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