|Date||25th February 2022|
|Society||Stage One Youth Theatre Group|
|Venue||New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Adam Blosse|
Author: Mark Donalds
Wow, what a show to bow out on! Stage One Youth Theatre’s production of “Grease”, Jacqui Ivemy’s last for the group after nearly 40 years, was an explosion of energy, colour, excitement, and sheer exuberance. If you don’t believe me, ask the packed audience who showed its appreciation in no uncertain terms throughout the show.
Grease is a great show for a youth group because, apart from the story and great songs, the principal roles are shared out evenly amongst the cast and everyone gets a chance to shine – and the glow from this show must have been visible from outer space!
Mia Dudley as Sandy really looked the part and gave a nicely controlled performance but only really emerged, like a butterfly into the sunlight, in her final number. As a character, Rizzo has much more depth and Lottie Hall gave a stunning performance with real pathos and demonstrated the quality of her singing voice. The other “Pink Ladies” provided tremendous support, with Violet Farmer nicely kooky as Jan, eating everything in sight, and Imogen Farmer suitably stern as Miss Lynch.
Ben Irish as Danny was everything the character should be, brash and cocky but with a vulnerable side. A great singer and mover, exuding confidence, he gave the character great depth and feeling. The other guys provided great support, and all worked well together making a believable gang of friends. Jack Edwards particularly stood out as Roger, with a remarkable vocal range in “Mooning”, as did Edward Richardson as Teen Angel and Vince Fontaine – excellent characterisation in both roles. Harvey Davies as Eugene showed great promise – it’s a shame that the role in the stage show is smaller than in the film.
Costumes (take a bow Bethany Baker) were spot-on throughout – what a task costuming such a large cast so well! Lighting and sound were good too and the stage crew managed the simple set quickly and efficiently. The orchestra, under the baton of Adam Blosse, created a great sound – though a little too great at times for those of us close to the pit!
Jacqui Ivemy, you must have changed so many lives for the better over the years, judging by the many touching tributes published in the (excellent) programme. and you must be truly proud of what your cast and crew achieved tonight. You’ll be a very hard act to follow!