Review

Grease, Beyond Broadway Experience, The Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Review

**** 4 Stars

“Sparkles with electrifying moments 

Over fifty years since Grease burst onto the stage for the first time, with book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey telling the coming-of-age story of a group of teenagers wrestling with life in 50’s America. Dealing with the blossoming of youth to adulthood, love, friendship and belonging and learning to understand the world around us.  What happens when you give the show to the next generation of young performers? Well acclaimed Beyond Broadway Productions have done just that and delivered a production that sparkles with electrifying moments and proves that Grease is Still the word. 

This production is the result of intensive two weeklong stage experience which makes the result even more remarkable. Featuring a total company of 175! The challenge was epic, but director Drew Gowland has delivered in spectacular style.  We at Scotsgay arts were invited to watch a special preview performance ahead of the opening night!

This show fields a tight knit and universally strong principal company lead by Aidan Harland as “Danny Zuko” and Charis Stockton as “Sandy Dumbrowski”. Harland delivers a tender and honest “Zuko” but with enough flavour of the legendary John Travolta its slick but with heart.  The same is true of Stockton whose “Sandy” while naive has a truthfulness that makes compelling viewing.  Special mention must also go to Cora Erskine as “Rizzo” who delivers a belting vocal and vampy take on the character, it’s just a shame the writing of the show means her story is rushed at the tail end, but Erskine delivers in style. The same is true of Charlie Geany as “Eugene Florczyk” this a masterclass in comic character acting and he rings the most out of every moment on stage. 

Musical director Simon Hanson leads a stellar onstage band and having taken the shrewd decision to incorporate the well-known songs from the hit movie version it allows the cast to truly shine vocally accompanied by the lush sound of the impeccable rock and roll band perched high above the festival theatre stage.

With a cast so big the biggest challenge falls to the Choreography team and Murray Grant and Sarah Kerr should be rightly proud of what they have achieved! The true five-star moment of the show is “Born to Hand Jive”. The production has cleverly removed the set and uses the expanses of the festival stage to great effect and the precision and dedication to timing of the choreography is a joy to behold and delivers truly spectacular moments that knock the eye out.

Production wise it’s on par to any UK touring production that visit the Festival Theatre, Keigan Hathorn’s lighting design delivers everything and more lighting up both the stage, stalls and boxes and ensure the show sparkles as it should. 

The overall production is one of a passionate cast delivering a stellar show and embracing the sheer joy of performing and that flows across the footlights and ensures the few minor sound issues and a couple of slow scene transitions can’t detract and audiences will get more than their monies worth and then some!

So, for a show that harnesses the power of the next generation of talent coupled with inventive staging, direction and knock out Choreography with lead performances to match then Beyond Broadways Grease really is the word! So, you better move like Grease Lightening to the Festival theatre and get those tickets!

Grease, The Beyond Broadway Experience, The Festival Theatre Edinburgh, Friday 29th and Saturday 30thJuly only. For tickets go to: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/all-shows/beyond-broadway-experience-grease/31

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