Those summer nights are long gone, but with the musical Grease entertaining audiences at the New Wimbledon Theatre this week, 70’s pop nostalgia is here to stay.
There are worse things I could do, than give this show a bad review…which it doesn’t deserve, but I will say that despite the entertainment value, I felt that last night’s performance was a little bit amateurish.
This touring version of Grease alters the original film’s storyline to a degree that some hard-core fans may find a little annoying; for example, Sandy doesn’t attend the high school prom and there is no sign of the T-Birds’ arch nemesis The Scorpians and subsequently no car chase .
Yet, the hit songs are all there with some great performances from Russell Grant (yes the horoscope man) who makes an hilarious cameo as Frenchie’s camp guardian angel, Kate Somerset-How who plays tough cookie Rizzo, and Josh Dever who stepped in to play Kenickie and belted out a shockingly good version of Greased Lightnin’.
There was even some muttering in the audience that whilst Danny Baynes’ perfectly timed comic performance of Danny Zuko (complete with John Travolta‘s infamous chuckle) was reasonably good, the charismatic Josh Dever would have been a far better choice to play the lead.
What struck me most about the slightly adapted storyline was the way in which Danny was portrayed as a completely idiotic, egotistical, vain, breast-hungry loser who appears to only excel on the dance floor.
The film version at least attempted to show Danny trying to change into a gentleman for Sandy, at the risk of being humiliated by his friends, but the theatre production simply seems to focus on the immediate and tragic loss of Sandy’s high-standing morals in order to impress a guy who is more interested in his own reflection.
The message that it seemed to be putting across, (to a largely adolescent female audience I might add), was that no matter how disrespectful a guy is towards a girl, she should pretty much put up with it and just don some leather pants and a push up bra and he will be twirling her around like a spinning top in no time.
I originally thought that the message of the film was that you should be willing to open your eyes to different attitudes and perspectives around you, and reach compromises for the sake of the happiness of those you love.
Well clearly I’ve been analysing this way too much and the real meaning behind all the singing, dancing and pelvic-thrusting is to just join in the fun and hand jive your way through high school!
Grease is currently running at the New Wimbledon Theatre until this Saturday October 20th
- I was having a Blonde moment… (ekaterinabotziou.com)