Grease: The Musical

Grease most certainly is the word! The iconic stage musical graced the Adelaide Festival Centre at the opening night of Grease: The Musical.

Produced by John Frost, the show is at once an homage to the brilliance of the original musical and a celebration of Australian talent. Featuring Australian legends Bert Newton, John Paul Young, and Todd McKenny, this slightly more ‘down under’ version of Grease blended the best that the nation has to offer with the rocking music and feel of 50’s America.

Starring Rob Mills as the ever-slick Danny Zuko and relative newcomer Gretel Scarlett as Sandy, the musical follows a long history of Grease productions- with the musical first appearing in Melbourne in 1972. Mills, who many might recognise from his stint in the first series of Australian idol, perfectly captured the swagger and vulnerable charm of Danny. Scarlett added a level of strength and determination to the character of Sandy, but nevertheless rocked out in that iconic black satin jumpsuit.

Like any Australian production, this performance of Grease had big shoes to fill. Grease is arguably the most famous musical ever created, with a cult following only increased by the outrageously energetic 70’s film. However, the production held it’s own musically, with the big band and stellar vocal gymnastics of the cast adding punch and flair to songs already ingrained in the minds of an enthusiastic audience. The cast’s amazing energy recreated the classic 70’s film, evoking an era of malted shakes and letterman jackets, whilst displaying the obvious shine of homegrown talent.

Lucy Maunder as stole the show as a sassy, smart-talking Rizzo, whose voice and attitude was a stand out in the performance.

Todd McKenny as ‘Teen Angel’ drew laughs, cheers, and even screams from the crowd, and Bert Newton as Vince Fontaine gave the performance the slightly off-beat and kooky edge the film brought to cinema screens over forty years ago.

The accents of the cast grated slightly, and opening night nerves may have contributed to dance moves which were not entirely executed sharply. Nevertheless, the band had the whole crowd on their feet and the phenomenal staging and costuming more than made up for any shortcomings.

The performance ended with a well-earned standing ovation for this production of such an iconic musical.

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