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Review - Grease: The Musical: fabulous direction and choreography

By David Wilson

Book, Music and Lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey

Direction by Taylor Andrews

Musical Direction by Nate Stevenson

Choreography by Jess Briskie

Millennial Productions

The Claver Theatre

Season runs until 8 July. Bookings:

The well-known Rydell High class of ’59, made famous in the Broadway musical and blockbuster hit movie from 1978, has been wonderfully captured in all its nostalgic glory in this excellent production by Millennial Productions.

Grease tells the story of the sweet new girl in town, Sandy Dumbrowski, and the rebellious Danny Zuko, after their secret summer romance is revealed on the first day back at their stereotypical American high school. Ultimately Grease is a musical about love, the search for identity, belonging, and the myriad of challenges facing young people.

The impressive (and large) production and creative team at Millennial Productions has once again knocked it out of the park with this one. They have done a wonderful job of combining strong stage talent with fabulous direction and choreography, underpinned by an obvious work ethic that shines through the very tight performance. All set against a backdrop of wonderful 50’s music, with a hint of 70’s, delivered by a top quality band.

Tayler Ramsay (Sandy) and Elliot Daniel Gough (Danny) were both excellent. Ramsay wonderfully captured the innocent and wholesome Sandy, while Gough’s swagger was on full show as Danny. Their on stage chemistry was evident, and they have faithfully represented the essence of these iconic characters. In Hopelessly Devoted To You, Ramsay’s emotional reach was evident, and her transition to ‘bad-girl’ showcased her strong dancing in You’re The One That I Want. Gough’s vocals shone in Sandy, and his charisma and energy were a highlight throughout.

The ‘ne’er-do-well’ T-Birds and Pink Ladies were all very strong. The characterisation of Chelsea Sales (Marty) and Chelsea Jamieson (Frenchy) were excellent, as were the vocals of Emma Bettinson (Jan) in It’s Raining On Prom Night. Zephram Chambers (Kenickie) brought the energy in Greased Lightning, and Jackson Hughesman (Roger) sang beautifully with Bettinson in Mooning, both capturing the teenage awkwardness perfectly. The physicality of Cooper Williams (Sonny) was eye-catching and AJ Betts (Doody/Teen Angel) showed off their wonderful stage presence and quality vocals in Beauty School Dropout which was a crowd favourite. Special mention goes to Mila Faye whose portrayal of Rizzo was brilliant. Her characterisation of the streetwise, sassy, sarcastic yet vulnerable T-Bird leader was spot on, and her vocals in There Are Worse Things I Could Do were absolutely showstopping.

Angelina Bourke (Patty) and Peter Wood (Eugene) were both fantastic, stealing many of their scenes with their over-the-top physicality and facial expressions. Their almost cartoonish portrayals were absolutely on point and drew many well-deserved laughs from the audience.

Carly Wilson (Miss Lynch) and Riley Watt (Vince Fontaine) were both very well cast, showcasing their significant talents throughout.

The audience engagement in this high energy production was obvious, and credit must go to the full creative team for pursuing this well-known story in a fresh, full-throttle way. The performance was strong at all times, with the opening and closing numbers of each act met with cheers and wild applause. The choreography of the large, complex, whole-of-cast numbers was particularly well done, showcasing the cast’s genuine breadth and depth of talent.

I encourage you to see this high quality production of an iconic musical.

Tickets can be purchased now and start from $40. Season runs until 8 July.


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