Grease starring Peter Andre
It’s been a long time since we’ve sat in the stunning Bristol Hippodrome, not since early March 2020 in fact. That was a few weeks before Britain went into lockdown, after which the theatre closed and it didn’t open again until last month. The process of getting in may now have changed with having to show COVID vaccination status, but the atmosphere was just as awesome. To be honest, it was probably even more atmospheric given Bristol audiences’ craving to rekindle their musical fix!
We were there to see Grease, a new production of the legendary singathon currently on tour around the UK.
Now, this show really doesn’t need much of an introduction. We all know the classic story that follows a group of high school students in 1950s America with the main focus on the romance between Sandy and Danny, played in the iconic 1978 film by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. It also features some of the world’s most well-known and most successful songs, Summer Nights and You’re The One That I Want among them.
Let’s get straight to the point. This production does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s Grease and it’s got everything you’d expect. Yep, it’s cheesy. Of course is it. But that’s what we wanted!
Is it any good though? In a word, yes!
Welcome to Rydell High
The set is glorious with 1950s high school sports hall climbing frames adapted for various scenes. For much of the show we’re treated to a huge neon Rydell High School sign. It moves aside at various points to reveal singer, actor and reality TV regular Peter Andre who plays Vince Fontaine.
From his DJ box suspended above the stage, which has a real celebrity presenter during Saturday Night Takeaway vibe, Andre oozes fun with his very entertaining performance. He’s back later in the show wearing wings as Teen Angel for Beauty School Dropout, one of the highlight songs for us.
Given his celebrity status, Andre is not surprisingly the first and biggest image in the programme but that shouldn’t take away from the rest of the cast. Georgia Louise as Sandy and Dan Patridge as Danny put in great performances and Louise impresses when singing the iconic Hopelessly Devoted To You which got one of the biggest cheers from the Bristol crowd. The rest of the high school students are great too.
But if we had to choose, Tendai Rinomota gives the stand-out performance for us as the spirited and super confident Rizzo.
Grease hit the headlines earlier this year after the film aired on the BBC and some viewers criticised it for outdated attitudes. We won’t start debating ‘cancel culture’ but there seemed to be a few tweaks in the show. Not much has changed though and every song was met with rapturous applause from the sell out audience.
Away from any controversy, a feel-good, simple, colourful, we-all-know-the-words kind of show seems to be what we all need right now. So what about those thrills? They were indeed electrifying.
Images credit: Sean Ebsworth Barnes