Grease is the word with a Standing Ovation at Venue Cymru

Last night was the opening night of the hit musical Grease at Venue Cymru in Llandudno and it had all ages from young to old enjoying the story of Danny, Sandy, the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies in 1950s America.

Since breaking out on Broadway in 1972, Grease’s place has been firmly established in the cultural Hall of Fame, having seduced the hearts of millions with its back-to-back sizzling tunes.

It’s the original high-school musical featuring everyone’s favourite characters- Sandy, Danny, the groovy T Birds, the sassy Pink Ladies and the whole gang at Rydell High – and all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie including You’re The One That I Want, Grease Is The Word, Summer Nights, Hopelessly Devoted to You, Sandy, Greased Lightnin’ and many more.

Voted the “No 1 Greatest Musical” and you can see why from last night’s performance, Grease has proved that a musical love story, bursting with denim, cheerleaders, slick hairstyles, rock’n’roll, 1950’s pop culture and an irresistible mix of teenage angst and young romance is timeless and universal.Grease is the ultimate feel-good, pick-me up musical – an electrifying extravaganza, packed with fun, energy and vibrant physicality.

There was excitement in the air at Venue Cymru last night as the almost packed out theatre buzzed with fans of not only the film but of the musical, taking to their seats ready for a night packed with fun, energy and hand-jiving the night away with “A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop, a wop-bam-boom!

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Throughout the evening’s performance of Grease, I can see hands in the air, adults and kids singing the songs to each other and plenty of that hand-jiving going on, especially through Greased Lightenin’, this is a testament to the stellar performances from the cast and to the production values of the show.

Grease – Danny and Sandy

The head characters Danny (played by Tom Parker) and Sandy (played by Danielle Hope) had such a great on stage presence, as they brought the characters to life with a passion for their performances, which certainly brought the audience closer into the story of the high school kids.

Tom Parker who has amassed a worldwide success since the start of his career back in 2009, achieving two UK number one singles and 10 top 10 singles, as well as four Billboard 100 singles with ‘Glad You Came’ in the top five with the Wanted, was great to watch as Danny Zucko who believes that he is the coolest of the cool.

Grease The Musical

Grease The Musical -Danny (Tom Parker) and the T-Birds

With the iconic look of greased back hair, jeans and leather jacket that most “cool” kids wore back in the 50s in the American High Schools, Parker puts on a brilliant performance as Danny, not only with the moves, but also with the vocal performance of the songs that he does, including the opening duet with Danielle Hope.

Parker is certainly a joy to watch on the stage and to be honest and I know this may upset some die-hard Grease (movie) fans, but I prefer Parker’s Danny to that of John Travolta.

Danielle Hope who is playing Sandy Dumbrowski in the stage musical, made her professional debut as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium, after capturing the hearts of the country and winning the BBC’s smash hit Over The Rainbow having competed against over 9,000 girls.

Grease The Musical

Grease the Musical (Danny – Tom Parker & Sandy – Danielle Hope)

Hope portrayed the Sandy character with delight and as Parker did in his role, she brings the character to live beautifully on the stage, what an amazing voice during her performance and a real crowd pleaser to boot.

Greased Lighting!!

No, I’ve not spelt the heading wrong, I had to bring to this review my thoughts on the lighting used in the production, it’s brilliantly done from the Grease logo that hung on the stage as we walked into the overall use of the lighting during the show, such as the single spotlight on the radio held by a cast member as they listen to the radio show, only for spot to open up to the cast sitting on the bleachers at the sports field at the school.

Grease The Musical - Blazing Minds Review

Grease The Musical – Venue Cymru (Photo Blazing Minds)

The lighting and special effects are also used very well for not only the introduction of the many scenes changes and locations but also for the introduction and transformation of the rather famous car from the story, Greased Lightnin’. I’m not going to say how and when you’ll just have to go and see the show for yourself.

Another brilliant use of the lighting is a backdrop screen that is brought down with a transparency for a musical piece to be happening behind as a lonely character sings right at the front of the stage, this looks brilliant and as the screen was raised the vibrancy of the scene behind jumped into life, although the smoke machine did seem to have a bit of a good go and the first four rows of the audience were engulfed in the mist, whoops!

T-Birds, Pink Ladies and Rydell High

Let’s not forget about the rest of the cast that has brought Grease to life on the stage at Venue Cymru. This is by all means no small cast, with the show including Danny’s crew the T-Birds and Sandy’s new friends the Pink Ladies, not forgetting the supporting cast of the Rydel High kids, all the cast bring a delightful and enjoyable show to the stage.

Grease The Musical

Grease The Musical (T-Birds and Pink Ladies)

Superbly written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, directed by David Gilmore (Daisy Pulls It Off, Happy Days, Song & Dance, Footloose) and choreographed by Arlene Phillips (Starlight Express, Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance The Musical & BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing), designed by Terry Parsons, with costumes by Andreane Neofitou, Grease is the word and a show that has to be seen, I’m not a fan of the movie, but the stage musical had me enjoying every moment from start to finish.

Last night’s performance had a full standing ovation, as the audience took to their feet with an ear deafening applause, whistles and cheers for a night of sheer unadulterated entertainment. With a running time at around 2 hours the show raced by.

Grease the Musical is on at Venue Cymru in Llandudno until the 19 August. Tickets for the show are available from venuecymru.co.uk and via the Box Office on 01492 872000.

Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham is the founder and owner of the Blazing Minds. She is also a Cinema reviewer, based at the Scala in Prestatyn and at the many Cineworld screens, where she reviews the latest movies, she has also had several articles published in various publications. In 2015 she became an Award Winning Blogger and also has her website listed as one of the UK's Top 10 Film Blogs.
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