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Grease

The Playhouse, Edinburgh
Four stars

All the pink ladies, single or otherwise, are in the house for the touring revival of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey's lovingly irreverent homage to the seemingly more innocent 1950s that went on to be the world's biggest musical and a smash movie too. With a fistful of hit songs and a pastel coloured cartoon style staging, David Gilmore's revisitation of his 1993 London production is a dazzling depiction of teenage dreams, where even the bad girls and boys are good. Despite this, it zones in on the heartbreak as much as the highs of the term time romance between tough guy Danny, nice girl Sandy and the gang.

With The Wanted's Tom Parker donning Danny's leather jacket with a knowing swagger, Over the Rainbow winner Danielle Hope's Sandy isn't quite so sickly sweet as sometimes played, and ex East Ender Louisa Lytton's Rizzo is a beatnik in waiting. Set pieces are writ large, from the souped-up thrust of Greased Lightning and the celestial camp of Beauty School Dropout, to the co-ordinated strut of the high school dance off.

Parker, Hope and Lytton may be the names here, but this is every inch an ensemble show. This is exemplified best in the lightning fast swirls of Arlene Phillips' choreography. The cast may be drilled to within an inch of their bobby socks, but every matching step and personalised little tic is delivered with a flair that makes it all look casual enough to be cool. When Sandy ditches her goody-two-shoes image for sprayed on raunch, it's a wolf whistle for independent women to come that suggests the 1950s will be over very soon.

The Herald, September 14th 2017

ends


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