Review – Grease the Musical

October 17, 2013

Reviews, Theatre

Its a Ramma lamma lamma ka dingity ding da dong Great Time!

Venue: The Lyric Theatre, Star Casino, Sydney

Date: October 16, 2013

By Guest Celebrity Reviewer

SCOTT RADBURN, of The Four Kinsmen

TO preface my review ... let me be honest and say that over the years I have never been vaguely interested in seeing the live musical `Grease'. I have always preferred the huge, deep, gutsy, emotional musicals like `Les Miserables', `Kiss of The Spider Woman' and `The Phantom of The Opera' with a touch of `The Jersey Boys' thrown in.

Lucy Maunder (Rizzo) leading the cast of GREASE. Photograph by Jeff Busby.

Seeing the `Grease Musical' live at the Lyric Theatre, Star Casino, Sydney last night has changed my thinking ... BIG TIME! After all these years I have realised I've been missing out on something special let me begin.

The smell of popcorn in the air and the buzz of anticipation from the crowd greeted our arrival at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre for the new John Frost production of iconic favourite, Grease. A generation of Australians have grown up with this musical and they know every lyric and love the characters. Groups of people were lined up taking photos with the life size cut outs of the characters in the foyer.

We were urged to enter the theatre promptly as there was some pre-show entertainment to be enjoyed. This is a bit of fun which gets the crowd even more on the edge of their seats.

The musical overture begins and off we go for the ride. The orchestra under Stephen Amos were superb and really fired the show along.

The arrival of the two leads, Rob Mills and Gretel Scarlett, on stage was greeted with an audience cheer. Mills brings his cheeky personality to the role of Danny, the character made famous by John Travolta.

Scarlett, in her first leading role, had the difficult task of portraying Sandy, with Olivia Newton-John in all our minds. She does an admirable job of making the character her own and will undoubtedly take on other leads in the future.

Anthony Callea as Johnny Casino, shows off his wonderful voice and showman style in a cameo performance, which was really appreciated by loud applause. Todd McKenney, as a glamorous Teen Angel, was also a crowd pleaser, in a sparkling all-singing, all-dancing segment with some comedic references to Boy From Oz and Dancing with the Stars.

Stephen Mahy, as Kenike, has the spectacular Greased Lightning number that had the crowd humming along and dancing in their seats while Lucy Maunder, as Rizzo, had the stand out performance with a soaring voice and great acting and dancing skills.

The ensemble was energetic and performed the group numbers and lively choreography well. Great lighting, set and costumes all added to the overall experience. Add to that an audience sing along towards the end and it rounds out a good family night out.

And to honour an icon of Australian entertainment veteran Bert Newton (playing Vince Fontaine) ... let me just say Bert is Bert. We just love him whatever he does.

Ladies and gentlemen to sum up ... I found myself singing the songs from the show an hour after I left the Lyric (unusual for me). Using the expression of Molly Meldrum "do yourself a favour" ... (now my advice) "make sure you see the show ... its a Ramma lamma lamma ka dingity ding da dong great time!!!!! ENJOY!!!!!!

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