REVIEW: Grease, Sheffield Lyceum

The T Birds in action in the latest production of Grease.
The T Birds in action in the latest production of Grease.

GREASE is the ultimate show of teenage kicks.

It’s a show which should spill over with unrelenting, toe-tapping energy as the songs are absolute gold. Most of the audience have probably heard half of them at every school disco or wedding they’ve ever been to. They should have to sit on their hands in an effort not to join in the Hand Jive.

I’m sad to say that Grease at Sheffield’s Lyceum theatre last night didn’t quite come up with the goods. The problem with everyone knowing the film and the songs so well is that you have to go one better and the production didn’t quite have that confidence.

The Grease storyline is simple: Danny meets Sandy in a summer romance at the beach, and then doesn’t deal well with keeping up appearances at school.

I doubt that I’m alone in being completely fascinated by the ins and outs of an American high school - especially one of the 1950s persuasion. They’re not just schoolkids at Rydell High, they’re T-Birds, Pink Ladies, cheerleaders, dorks and jocks. Combine that with the all-American, classic images of US diners and drive-ins and it’s not hard to see why the show holds such a special place in our hearts - and karaoke choices.

Blonde bombshell and former X Factor contestant Rhydian Roberts made a guest appearance as Teen Angel in the Beauty School Drop out scene. He can’t have been on the stage for more than five minutes and - not being an X Factor fan myself - everything about him but his voice made me cringe.

It wasn’t until the second act that the show started to look slick and the cast seemed to start enjoying themselves - the school dance-off scene was superb.

It was unfortunate that technical difficulties then forced the curtain down for five minutes. The audience was fairly forgiving but the hitch did take the sting out of what could have been a really promising, all-dancing finale.

All in all, there were some extremely strong performances, most notably from Carina Gillespie (Sandy) and Ricky Rojas (Kenickie). But when I’m next doing my Grease Lightning moves, it’ll still be John Travolta’s Danny I’m thinking of.

*Jen Foster