GREASE – Theatre Royal Plymouth


4 August 2021

For the second time in a week it has been an utter pleasure to see the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, with a packed and enthusiastic house. After the last 18 months it is something that had become an almost alien concept. Throughout the pandemic TRP has done all in its powers to keep the theatre open and provide something for audiences to take them into a world away from the pressures of lockdown, illness, furlough and isolation – I hope that the return of huge audiences is a response to their hard work.

As with SIX recently, GREASE is going to be a real audience pleaser. First performed in 1971 it was made into an enormously successful film in 1978 – the result has been many different versions of the show and the edges have somewhat been blurred between what was in the original stage musical and what was added from the film. 

I haven’t seen GREASE for many years – it is a simple piece of work with a virtually non-existent plot and by today’s standards of shows about teen culture, can be considered tame. It is reliant on its songs, choreography and tongue-in-cheek performances.

Nikolai Foster’s production for the Leicester Curve is choreographed by Arlene Philips and has an excellent design from Colin Richmond – an adaptable and fluidly movable set. Dan Partridge plays Danny Zuko with a certain amount swagger, but maybe not enough charisma to really engage with the audience. An unfortunate accident to Georgia Louise, just prior to the start of the show thrust Laura-Jane Fenney into the central role of Sandy – some obvious nerves were overcome and a very creditable performance resulted. There was particularly good work from Josh Barnett as Roger, Marianna Neofitou as Frenchy, Maeve Byrne as Jan and Cristian Zaccarini as Sonny – all threw themselves into their roles whereas I felt some other characterisations were a little under-baked; something which was highlighted by the performance of Peter Andre as DJ, Vince Fontaine and Teen Angel. Andre completely steals the show with a terrific performance – high in camp and full of energy – he is ideal in both roles; worth the ticket price alone.

It is always a risk to re-choreograph iconic dance moves, but it is a risk Dame Arlene Philips takes – most noticeably with ‘Greased Lightning’ – I was aware of the audience aching to join in, only to be knocked off guard by the new version. Dances were high energy and fun with ‘Born To Hand Jive’ particularly effective with the band providing enthusiastic and solid accompaniment.

There were issues with the sound. A surprising number of late fade-ups on microphones, some of which appeared not to function properly at all, particularly in the first half. This is not something expected from a professional company. 

Grease is not a great show, but it is undeniably fun. Throughout there just seemed to be something missing in this production. It needed more verve, more oomph and maybe more cheese – thank goodness for Mr Andre who delivered these qualities in spades – I hope it spreads throughout the company.


Danny ZukoDan Partridge
Sandy DumbrowkiLaura-Jane Fenney
Betty RizzoTendai Rinomhota
KenickiePaul French
Teen Angel/Vince FontainePeter Andre
Doody/EnsembleAlex Christian
Roger/EnsembleJosh Barnett
Sonny/Ensemble Cristian Zaccarini
Frency/EnsembleMarianna Neofitou
Jan/EnsembleMaeve Byrne
Marty/EnsembleInez Budd
Eugene/EnembleMatt Trevorrow
Patty Simcox/EnsembleHannah Faith Marram
Miss LynchCorinna Powlesland
Cha Cha/EnsembleAlishia-Marie Blake
Johnny Casino/EnsembleJacob Fisher
Male EnsembleElliot Gooch
Male EnsembleDom Hutcheson
Male EnsembleHaroun al Jeddal
Female EnsembleHannah-Faith Marram
Female EnsembleKalisha Johnson
Male Swing + Dance CaptainKevin O’Dwyer
Male Swing Jacob Young
Officer MailieRichard Linford






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