When I was (a lot!) younger, I had the soundtrack to Grease – a double vinyl LP (yes, before the age of CD’s and MP3’s). The records, as they were known then, came in a presentation album, complete with photo’s from the original movie. I would spend hours in the lounge, making up dances to my favourite songs, the main one being Greased Lightening. I will never forget the T-birds, full of false bravado, nor the transformed Sandra Dee.
Fast forward many years later, and I find myself in the Teatro at Montecasino, with my two daughters and husband, watching the on-stage version of one of my favourite musicals of all time. As the lights dim, and the curtain lifts to reveal Grease literally in lights, the familiar songs are played in a medley by the live band.
One of my first observations is that my naïve child’s mind didn’t fully grasp the underlying sexual innuendo’s, nor fully understood the insinuations of the gyrations and play on words that are central to the story. And interestingly enough, neither does my 8 year old. She responds to the music and the songs, and the visual production, and leaves us to laugh at the more adult jokes. As for my 14 year old, she had a good giggle, but still managed to look shocked in some places (that may have been for effect).
The overall production of the show is world class – wonderful sets, authentic costumes that tie in exactly with the original movie look, and fabulous musical direction. And we have such wonderful local talent! I have a slight bias towards Jonathan Roxmouth (Danny) – he matriculated from my daughter’s high school – but bias aside – he sure can act! And sing! And without taking anything away from the rest of the cast, he stole the show. It helps when the script is written to favour the male roles – from the hilarious T-birds, to Vince Fontaine, both the movie and the stage version are very male-role orientated. Sandy, played by Bethany Dickson had a wonderful voice and she epitomised the innocent, morally upstanding Sandy – right until the well known va-va-voom moment at the end. The actors playing the roles of Rizzo, Frenchy, Jan and Marty as the Pink Ladies were fabulous, and carried their solo’s wonderfully well.
One of my favourite voices for the night was that of Thembeka Mnguni who played the Teen Angel Beauty. This role, originally performed by a man, worked so well that I think it should have stayed in female hands. And what a voice! The jazzy tones, and styling of the song added something unique, and showcased her vocal talents brilliantly.
The storyline and settings don’t follow the movie version exactly, but this does not detract from the experience. My husband, who isn’t a Grease fundi, and who had just stepped off a plane after a long week away, was as blown away as I was, and thoroughly enjoyed the show. Chatting to other patrons after the show, it was evident that this is a hit. Book now for a guaranteed fabulous night out!
Grease is on at Montecasino’s Teatro until Sunday, 13th June 2010. For bookings follow the links alongside.