Review: Grease @ New Wimbledon Theatre



Last night’s show-stopping opening night at the New Wimbledon theatre proves that Grease is still the word!

By Hayley Fox

Grease launched its six-day stint at The New Wimbledon Theatre last night to a varied demographic of couples, families and friends, young and old.

The interesting audience mix was the first thing that caught my attention, proving this musical has something for everyone. The timeless love story and relatable characters still seem to hold rightful places in 2012.

The band was introduced first – a nice touch seeing as the catchy tunes have played such a vital role in cementing the 1978 film’s now legendary status.

Indeed, Grease’s iconic soundtrack makes it a fine musical, capturing the cool essence of 1950s high school life in show-stopping fashion.

It is hard to find someone who wouldn’t be able to name a song from Grease. Most songs raise a smile and evoke memories every time they’re heard.

The fist-pumping ‘Greased Lightnin’’ was wonderfully done, showing the infamous car going from old and battered to sparkling and road-worthy (or musical-worthy). This was accompanied by a confident dance sequence from the cast.

Danny Bayne, of Grease Is the Word fame, gave a solid performance as Danny Zuko, leader of the T-Birds, making the audience chuckle with his deep Elvis-style, ‘ah ha ha’s’.

After taking his bows, he threw his gel-riddled comb into the audience where some appeared to scramble to claim it. Danny Zuko’s status as a heartthrob is still intact, even after all these years.

Carina Gillespie (Sandy) played her role convincingly, showing off her sweet voice in the breezy ‘Summer Nights’ and in the emotive ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’.

Strictly star Russell Grant (Teen Angel) received an astounding cheer as he swept though ‘Beauty School Dropout’ whilst donning a shimmering suit and a silver quiff. His animated and comical performance in this scene, accompanied by the flamboyantly dressed chorus ensemble, was one of the many highlights.

The talented supporting cast all did a wonderful job, sometimes overshadowing the leads with their witty lines and passion for their roles. Laura Wilson (Jan) and David O’Reilly (Rodger) in particular gave brilliant performances.

Kate Somerset How, playing Rizzo, also deserves a mention and she received a rapturous response from the audience after her powerful vocal in ‘There Are Worst Things I Could Do’.

The Rydell High Dance’s musical number ‘Born To Hand Jive’ was another one of my favourite moments although it was hard to focus on any character in particular with so much going on! The girls’ prom dresses created a rainbow of colour as they swirled around with their prom dates.

‘You’re The One That I Want’ had the audience on their feet, bobbing and singing along with the catchy words as a transformed Sandy sashayed around the stage in her sexy, figure hugging outfit.

The choreography and energy throughout the entire show is beyond criticism – the whole cast delivers and the excitement is contagious.

After several rounds of bowing, a medley of audience favourites and continuous applause, it’s fair to say that Grease is still the word.

Grease runs until Saturday 20th October. For ticket details visit or phone 0844 871 7646.

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