12th February 2016
Sawston Youth Drama
The Marven Centre, Sawston
Type of Production
Author: Decia Ranger
Grease continues to be one of the most popular musicals for young actors, its infectious score appealing to the young people of today just as much as those of yesterday.
The year is 1959 and the students of Rydell High School are returning to start a new year. Sandy and Danny have had a brief love affair over the summer but when they meet up again at school Danny decides to make light of it in front of his friends and Sandy is hurt by his attitude.
Marty holds a pyjama party and the girls try to get Sandy to drink wine and smoke. Rizzo compares Sandy to Sandra Dee who epitomised the squeaky clean American teenager of the 50’s and teases Danny about her. Sandy meanwhile is anxious to lose this image so she can fit in.
This production was full of energy from the start, showcasing a lot of talent. Florence Thorburn as Jan, Issy Perry as Marty, Jess Hicks as Frenchy and Clare MacGregor as Betty Rizzo all gave excellent performances as the Pink Ladies. Such a pity Rizzo’s pencil skirt was just a little too tight and tended to rise up and needed adjusting on several occasions. This must have been off putting for this young actress but she did not let it mar her performance in any way.
There were equally good performances from the ‘T’ Birds. Jonah Perry as Roger, Alex Nightingale as Doody, Chris Jeffery as Sonny and Sam Roberts as Kenickie, the proud owner of Greased Lightning.
Percie Bell looked suitably mature and straight laced as Miss Lynch and there were other equally good performances from Sam Ross as Eugene Florczyk and Kate Rainsford as Patty Simcox the cheerleader. Alan Wilson displayed a very good singing voice as Teen Angel, backed by a choir of silver clad angels wearing fantastic headdresses of silver rollers. This was a terrific dream scene.
Keilan Grant as Vince Fontaine and James Galloway as Johnny Casino were both well played.
Very well done to Jasmine Whitmore as Cha-Cha Digregorio and her partner Danny on their dancing at the hand jive dance contest.
Phoebe McNally was a good casting as Sandy Dumbrowski the new girl at school, wanting desperately to be a greaser’s girl and impress Danny. This she does to great effect in the final scene. Nicely portrayed.
Sammy Meikle is in my opinion one to be watched. He gave an excellent performance as Danny Zuko, really living the part. Good confident acting and singing.
I liked that the band was on a raised platform at the back of the stage with ‘Greased Lightning’ cleverly hidden underneath behind a curtain when not required. I must mention though the headlights which were blindingly bright. I know this is done to great effect in productions of ‘Grease’ staged in larger theatres but the Marven Centre is an intimate venue and I think it could have been toned down a bit. It took some time for my eyes to re-adjust once the headlights were switched off.
Congratulations to the Production Team – Director Adam Bonner assisted by Max Reader, MD Paul Garner and Choreographer Karen Revill. This was a very slick production against an unshowy but well devised set. Well done also to the lighting and sound teams. You know they are doing their job well when you are totally unaware of them and can immerse yourself in the action on stage.
The costumes were for the most part of the period with just the occasional one that didn’t quite fit in.
It was a real pleasure to see so many enthusiastic young performers. How did the audition panel decide on the casting with so much talent to choose from? At times the stage was very crowded but I can understand that it would have been difficult not to give everyone who wanted to be involved, the opportunity to do so.
Another show for SYD Seniors to be proud of. A very enjoyable evening, thank you for inviting me.