Grease Review

Mayflower, Southampton – until Saturday 8 July 2017.  Reviewed by Karen Millington-Burnet

Well, it wasn’t the film, but Grease in the Mayflower knocked out all the toe tapping tunes we love and launched into a flying start with the on-stage band kicking off with gusto.

What a joy to see Jimmy Osmond back on stage as Teen Angel, though no longer the youngster he once was. He stunned us with his natural humour, empathy with the audience and cracking voice – a star performance as was to expected from such a seasoned campaigner; long may he continue to delight us! He lifted and carried the cast with a slightly miss-cast Tom Parker as Danny who couldn’t quite carry off the Travolta routine – we couldn’t help feeling that Tom Senior and Michael Cortez, who would normally have been understudies, would have made stronger Danny’s.  That said, everyone has to start somewhere and we hope Tom Parker will keep developing.

Danielle Hope’s Sandy made a great partner to Danny and led the girls strongly, lifting Louisa Lytton’s Rizzo to a very strong presence.  Special mention to Callum Evans who made the most of the character, used the full space of the stage and brought the hapless Eugene to life for us.  We did enjoy Ryan Keenan’s Doody and his very able guitar playing.  All in all, a high energy cast with a great feel for complex routines and plenty more potential to offer; well deserving of their standing ovation at the conclusion.

Memorable moments included the transformation of Greased Lightening, the car, from wreck to sparkling glitter ball. Though this was countered by a less than transformative set generally.  As ever we were cheered up with the wonderful Mayflower ice creams at half time!

Slightly worryingly, come the second half, there was a general emptying-out of the seats around us in the Stalls; not quite sure why – the performance didn’t warrant a walk-out in any way.  A slightly disappointing response to the Southampton run which should only get stronger after this first night.  We wish the cast and crew all the best for the next fortnight in town.