Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * *
Cast: Tom Parker, Danielle Hope, Darren Day, Louisa Lytton, Tom Senior, Ryan Heenan, Oliver Jacobson, Michael Cortez, Rhiannon Chesterton, Rosanna Harris, Lauren Atkins, Callum Evans, Gabrielle Williams, Alisa Davidson, Natasha Mould, Anthony Hughes, George Onley, Rory Phelen, Grant Thresh, Charlotte Coggin, Alessia McDermott, Anna Murray.
Grease is surely to be considered as one of the coolest musicals of the 20th Century, on stage or on screen. The music from the film spawned several hit records that clogged and dominated the charts, four of which made the U.K. top ten and two going all the way to Number One – Summer Nights and You’re The One That I Want. It was also a film that changed the way many in the U.K. saw the American High School system and perhaps for the younger cinema goers gave them a glimpse of what they could dream of if they happened to be transferred to a educational establishment away from the soggy meat and inedible school dinners offered them in the dreary dinner halls of Britain.
Grease was always the word, it, as the title song goes, had got feeling, except that in the case of the current tour to hit Liverpool’s Empire Theatre, it has hasn’t, all that feeling, all that groove, disappearing in a fateful display of seemingly uncharacteristic indifference, of passionless tedium.
It is always hard to observe something being delivered on stage that just does not have the right tempo, a sense of the world weary, unanimated agitation attached to it and in an ordinary straight play, even in the world of doublet and hose, of amateur dramatics, it is unquestionably cruel to display such emotion to an audience, in the world of musical theatre, in a musical that requires exhilaration and a beat of heart that cannot be contained, it is akin to sacrilege.
So much hope, of taking the world away from the despair, of offering a life preserver by taking an audience back to a time when all they had to worry about was getting good grades, of passing out of school with their dignity intact, all that is what makes a great musical like Grease so important but where there is no passion, you can feel the apparent boredom seeping of the stage and into the very hearts of those who require the love to be paramount, the crowd, the normally undaunted audience.
Grease maybe the word, and normally it is one that carries the most favourable of restless pounding in the soul, unfortunately in this case it is not so much a word but a sentence.
Ian D. Hall