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Grease The Musical Review - Edinburgh Playhouse

Following a successful run at the King's Theatre Glasgow and ahead of a week in Aberdeen's His Majesty's Theatre, the UK touring production of Grease is in Edinburgh until June 29th.

Photography by Marc Brenner


The 1978 movie is the fourth highest-grossing live-action musical in the history of cinema. Adapted for the Chicago stage in 1971 it moved to the Broadway stage a year later receiving seven Tony Award nominations. Patrick Swayze and John Travolta had parts in those early days while the understudy was a young Richard Gere. He found the spotlight however in 1973 though playing the lead Danny Zuko as the show opened in London's West End. The recent revival in London's Dominion Theatre was a huge success with over 500,000 people attending the summer 2023 run.


Photography by Marc Brenner


This UK tour normally stars Marley Fenton as Danny Zuko, but understudy Ben Middleton from Dublin was on duty for this performance, with Hope Dawe, a new graduate from Mountview Drama School playing the iconic role of Sandy. Scottish actors also form part of the huge singing and dancing cast of this joyous musical. Although based firmly in 1959 the days of Rydell High have been adopted by every generation since its inception. How many Hen Nights have been enhanced by the Pink Ladies with the costumes of the day and so many songs have been enjoyed at parties like Summer Nights, You're The One That I Want, Greased Lightnin' and Hopelessly Devoted To You.


Photography by Marc Brenner


With no headline artist, the setting and ensemble had to be good, and everyone lived up to the challenge. Ben as Danny never fell short of commanding stage presence among a strong gang of Burger Palace boys. Hope Dawe gave a confident performance as Sandy and had her big moments in song fully living up to being Hopelessly Devoted To You. Joe Gash knows Grease well having played Kenickie in the condensed version (on Royal Caribbean ships) he now commands attention high above the stage as DJ Fontaine and the Teen Angel later in the show. MGA Edinburgh graduate Rebecca Stenhouse has an assertive role on stage and her vocals stand out on There Are Worse Things I Can Do and the more trivial (Look At Me, I'm) Sandra Dee. The ballad start of Sandy from Danny is just a prelude to the explosion that follows with Grease (Is The Word) coming soon after. Made famous by Frankie Valli, on stage, it became a big production and the first introduction to the dazzling choreography to come as devised by Dame Arlene Phillips. Perfectly in step with the groups of boys separate from the girls then a breath defying lung bursting lindy hop during the dance competition on Hand Jive, they save injury time energy for a standing ovation encore during the Megamix reprise to send everyone home in a great mood. Helped of course with a loud eight-piece band of orchestral proportions led by MD Charlie Ingles.


Photography by Marc Brenner


Director Nikolai Foster along with sound designers Tom Marshall and Richard Brooker have remixed the well-loved story with new songs that work, big production on the songs we know and changing things about – like no transformation of the Greased Lightning car. So peppered with the big anthems like Summer Nights expertly split on stage from Danny and Sandy we still get the memorable one-liners like 'Have a cigarette, it won't kill ya' or 'he's got an eight ball for a gear shift' while making this production fresh and a joy to see.


This production is rated ★★★★


Grease The Musical runs at Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday the 29th of June. To book tickets visit: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/grease/edinburgh-playhouse/

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