The chicks’ll scream for Greased Lightning (no seriously, expect a lot of screams)
Tasteful drag, Mean Girls anachronisms, 2 tonnes of hair gel (probably) - is there anything Muse’s production of Grease didn’t have? If it was missing anything, it was probably a chance for the cast to catch a breath amidst the high energy, super bouncy, pep-fuelled go-go train of a performance.
Set in 1959, Grease is a snapshot of high-school during the fabulous fifties; it’s a story about sex, rock and roll, and not much else to be honest. Yet despite the storyline of Grease being quite minimal, you’d find it hard impossible to be bored during the show. The stamina of the cast is impeccable, not to mention their witty delivery of every line, which left me with a set of perfect, 6 pack-abs by the end. The set and costumes were playful and full of vibrant colour, adding an extra layer of vitality to the already exuberant performance. It’s a show full of action, look away for a moment and you’ll probably miss a sneaky make-out sesh (shout-out to our very own saucy manx, Jasper Bruce, for his endurance kissing).
Despite my initial shock-horror in learning that Sandy was brunette, and Danny blonde, I now stand firm that the casting of all characters was spot-on. Isobel Rose and Tom Pegler, who portrayed Sandy and Danny respectively, were the ideal contrast between airy innocence and tough-guy confidence but lacked a little chemistry.
Rose’s crystalline voice is something I didn’t think to believe actually exist. Her touching rendition of ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ was a personal highlight of the show. I mean, let’s be honest, it’s the part of the movie we all usually fast-forward, but Rose’s performance would be immensely hard to skip, and that’s not just because this is a live show.
On the other hand, Pegler simply oozed swag on stage. His dulcet tones and charming demeanour were enough to keep my love for the character of Danny alive, despite the fact he is actually a dickhead most of the time.
The T–Birds’ were a ball of hair gel and non-stop banter. Their performance of ‘Greased Lightning’ was a sex-driven masterpiece. There’s something about a group of leather-clad guys dancing in perfect unison that is just so satisfying to watch.
As for the Pink Ladies, they were all full of attitude, cheekily prancing everywhere and chain-smoking like “it won’t kill you”.
As a whole, the cast never broke character, maintained an intense amount energy throughout and remained cool when things didn’t go as planned. Special shout-outs to Ellie Jones’ sassy poise, Hayden Tonazzi’s moon, Blake Cunio’s guitar skills, Jordan Delany’s absurd perkiness, Jasper Bruce’s Elvis-esque voice, Emily Greenberg’s cheeky promiscuity, and lastly to David Collins for being the guardian angel I never knew I needed.
However, what impressed me most about this production is, was how smoothly it ran, which is no mean feat given the amount of elements involved and the time frame this was brought together in. The level of professionality achieved by a group of people who have been balancing rehearsals, university and who knows what else for the past 4 months is nothing short of inspiring. I’d also like to extend a commendation to everyone I didn’t see on stage - the orchestra, the production team, the back stage team. Bravo.
If the MUSE team can tighten their dance numbers and keep up the sheer energy of this production beyond opening night then it will be well worth going to see. At the very least, you’ll walk out of the theatre with a big ol’ grin on your face and phrases like “ring-a-ding-ding” suddenly embedded in your vocabulary.
Tickets are still available for 7.30pm on Thursday 23 March and Friday 24 March. Find them HERE.