Grease The Musical

Review: Grease The Musical at Theatre Royal

We’re hopelessly devoted to Grease The Musical and here’s why…

Nicole Wood

Journalist at Luxe


Growing up, Grease was a firm favourite in our household.

Even now, it continues to be one of my go-to, feel-good musicals. From singing along to the Grease medley and spending lazy Sunday afternoons replaying the classic we all know and love, it’s a film that brings people together and puts smiles on faces.

But the live theatre production? It’s something I’ve never had the pleasure of witnessing before… until now.

A mid-week pick-me-up in the shape of Grease The Musical at Theatre Royal is just the ticket for this Tuesday evening.

Grease The Musical

What’s it about?

If, like me, when you think of Grease, you think of the 1978 film, then you’re in for a nostalgic ride with a few unexpected treats.

The show follows the story of Danny and Sandy who meet and fall in love at the beach. When the school year begins, Danny resumes his role as leader of the Burger Palace Boys (T-Birds in the film) at Rydell High, where Sandy has unexpectedly enrolled and befriends the Pink Ladies.

Danny and Sandy recount their summer romance differently. When they reunite, Danny snubs Sandy to maintain his tough image, upsetting her and causing a few ups and downs along the way before the famous ‘change’ and their blossoming romance is back on track.

It’s everything you could want and hope from seeing this beloved classic live on stage. And if you haven’t seen the film, you’re in for a musical theatre treat.

Grease

Film vs on-stage

This current version of the show actually follows the original 1971 on-stage script. So, when ‘Freddy My Love’ started playing instead of ‘Sandra Dee’ during the Pink Ladies sleepover, I initially thought it was a new on-stage musical number, but have since learned the film adapted the storyline ever so slightly.

Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey originally wrote Grease as a play that detailed their own lives growing up as working-class kids on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s.

Grease

Director of Grease The Musical, Nikolai Foster, was granted the rights to go back to the original script and what an incredible job he has done bringing it back to life.

The storyline of both the play and the film follow each other closely, with a few minor differences as this version goes back to the original source material. There are some new (in fact, old) songs, the T-Birds become the Burger Palace Boys, Australian Sandy Olsson is working-class Sandy Dumbrowski and the ensemble cast’s roles are expanded on.

Both versions beautifully brilliant in their own right.

Grease

Who’s in it?

Let’s begin with sweethearts Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski, played by Marley Fenton and Hope Dawe. Their portrayal of Danny and Sandy’s love story is vividly brought to life on stage, thanks to their electric on-stage chemistry and heartfelt performance.

Rebecca Stenhouse, playing Betty Rizzo, was simply sensational. Her sharp wit had the audience in fits of laughter, while her impressive vocals left everyone in awe. Playing her romantic sidekick Kenickie, George Michaelides deserves a special mention. His equally impressive vocals and seamless embodiment of the role has the audience hooked.

Grease

Alicia Belgrade took on the sweet and oh-so friendly role of Frenchy with perfection. India Chadwick (Marty), Sario Solomon (Sonny), Kieran Lynch (Doody), Lewis Day (Roger), and Emerald B (Jan) formed the perfect gang to take on the iconic roles of the Pink Ladies and Burger Palace Boys, bringing a delightful energy and cohesion to the stage.

Joe Gash playing Vince Fontaine has the audience captivated from the moment the lights go down. Brilliantly funny, charismatic, and delightfully cliché, he delivered a five-star performance.

Grease

The entire cast, along with the dancers, singers, costume designers, and set designers – everyone involved in the production – are a credit to the original 70s script. This production truly is a must-see for any musical lover.

What’s good about it?

What’s not good about it? It’s a light-hearted, nostalgic masterpiece filled with sensational vocals, special effects and brilliant choreography. For the full 2 hours and 25 minutes, the audience is simply in awe. There’s smiles on faces, laughter in abundance and toes tapping with each musical number.

Grease

A fresh young cast brings this thrilling version to life with energy, vitality, and passion. Expect a phenomenal score bursting with hits including ‘Summer Nights,’ ‘Greased Lightnin’,’ ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You,’ and ‘You’re the One That I Want.’

Who should see it?

If you’re a big Grease fan, then you’re going to love it. Resisting the urge to sing along to the songs you love is a challenge, but it’s one worth taking on.

Grease

There are a few adult themes hidden within the show and some strong language, which is why it’s recommended for ages 7+. However, younger viewers and adults alike were enjoying the performance in equal measures. Expect a story of familiarity filled with love, laughter and nostalgia.

For those who aren’t familiar with the story, I can confidently say that if you’re a musical lover, then you will still fall head-over-heels for Grease The Musical!

When’s it on?

Grease The Musical will be showing at Theatre Royal from 12 to 15 June 2024. Tickets are on sale now and available to book at theatreroyal.co.uk.