By Nahima Kern
Written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey
Directed by Alister Smith
Presented by the Musical Theatre Students of Queensland Conservatorium
Season runs until November 13. Duration 2.5 hours with interval. Bookings: https://www.qpac.com.au/event/grease_21/
Grease is the word, at least that’s what the cool kids say. The 1978 blockbuster film that followed the original 1971 musical, sparked an enduring love for the songs and colourful characters that inhabit this classic musical drama and arguably popularised the story in the minds of many, which leads us to last night.
Last night’s production of Grease, as presented by the musical theatre students of QLD’s esteemed Con’, embodied everything of the spirit of the late 1950s. To a packed Lyric theatre, the energy was high, the singing on point, and with every song and dance, the audience was drawn back to a time perhaps most would not even know, but wanted to be a part of. The set was towering, the costumes were brilliant, and the high school dance décor was appropriately tacky. This production had it all.
From the very first Grease is the Word the calibre of performance was set, and by the time Summer Nights began, the audience was well and truly sucked in. There was singing, there was boogying in seats, and there was a whole lot of clapping coming from the audience as each number came on. Sean Johnston as Danny and Lucinda Wilson as Sandy, made the perfect imperfect pair, and their harmonies sent frissons up the audience’s spine. Memorable performances from among the Pink Ladies were: Amelia Burton as the loveable Frenchie, Hannah Paul as the precocious Marty, and Jamie Mollineaux as the rough-and-tumble Rizzo.
Notable performances among the T-Birds were Daniel Erbacher as slick-talking Kenickie, Carla Beard as the energetic Sonny, and Hanlon Innocent as goofy Doody. Elizabeth Ball as Johnny Casino and Beau Wharton as school Principal Miss Lynch, were fan favourites that evoked much applause at the end of the show, rightly so as their energetic and entertaining performances were some of the strongest among the cast.
There may have been some hiccups with balance between the singers and band, however these teething issues usually only last opening night. That didn’t stop the audience and cast from having a ball of a time, and it showed as the audience left the theatre in good spirit. Grease was a memorable performance and something that goes to show the resilience of the arts industry, after all this time.