BWW Review: GREASE, King's Theatre, Glasgow
First staged in 1971 and followed with the 1978 film that's regarded as one of the most beloved movie musicals of all time, Grease is a show that has been entertaining audiences for almost 50 years. The story of Sandy and Danny's whirlwind summer romance and how their relationship changes on their return to school is universal and never feels outdated. Packed with a song list to die for and so many classic scenes, it is hard to go wrong with Grease.
Unfortunately this production does go wrong. While we start off strong with a group number ("Grease Is The Word") the evening quickly descends into a shambles. The dialogue is rushed and so many iconic lines are lost and stumbled over. It feels as though the cast are racing through the script in order to get to the musical numbers. The songs are by no means a redeeming factor: words are fluffed, sound levels are all over the place and nobody is particularly tuneful.
In this production of Grease, elements that are delightfully cheesy in the script become horrendously tacky. The whole show feels as though it's been "dumbed down" for the audience and becomes almost slapstick, relying on cheap laughs. The script is disjoined and while the stage show is never scene-for-scene the same as the film, this production is hard to follow and just doesn't make sense.
Tom Parker has taken on Danny Zuko as his first stage role and he manages to make one of the coolest theatre roles seem like a bore. He appears to be going through the motions and injects no personality whatsoever into the part. Danielle Hope is better suited to her role as Sandy and performs a beautiful rendition of "Hopelessly Devoted To You"; she's the pleasant exception in this production. However, there is no chemistry between the two leads and the grand finale of "You're The One That I Want" feels like a poor karaoke version.
Everything about this staging screams amateur and I'm astonished that they're charging premium prices for tickets. Like many, Grease was my first introduction to musicals, and it is so disappointing to watch this butchering of a classic.
Grease is at the King's Theatre until 20 May