If you only go and see one show this week, make it Grease at The New Theatre in Oxford, for two hours of pure pleasure with high energy dancing, brilliant design and superb casting. Trust me – it will really brighten up your October!

Predictably, hard core fans of both the iconic musical, and Peter Andre, packed the theatre -some even dressing for the occasion as T-Birds or Pink Ladies. It was a great way to start the new autumn season and a faithful version of the original stage show.

Fans of the film who have never seen the stage musical before, can expect some significant differences, but it pays to remember that Grease was a stage production before it hit the silver screen and director Nikolai Foster has nailed it with this production.

As a fan of the film since it opened in cinemas 40 years ago, when as a 12-year-old I saw it 12 times in about six weeks – I loved every minute of this version in the New Theatre all week, and so did the rest of the audience, including my husband who has never even seen the film and is not exactly a musical theatre fan. 

READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH PETER ANDRE HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/its-electrifying-peter-andre-tells-us-what-to-expect-as-grease-the-musical-opens-at-oxfords-new-theatre/

He did wistfully reminisce about seeing Black Sabbath and Deep Purple at the same venue ‘back in the day’ while I was telling him about my Grease scrap book and the tatty dog-eared double album of the entire film score that I still have!

GREASE originally opened in Chicago in 1971, followed by a move to Broadway in 1972, where it received seven Tony Award nominations, including one for Best Musical. During the show’s eight-year run, little known actors, including Patrick Swayze and John Travolta, appeared in the production, with Richard Gere understudying many roles before going on to star as Danny Zuko in the 1973 London premiere. 

Martha Kirby as Sandy and Dan Partridge as Danny. Pic credit Manuel Harlan

The 1978 film adaptation starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, is the highest-grossing live action musical of all time, and celebrated its 40thanniversary last year.

But back to the New Theatre and Oxford’s appreciative audience. The entire cast deserves massive praise for their incredible dance moves, relentless energy, stamina and excellent acting.

Emily Beth-Harrington was a brilliant, tough and edgy Rizzo and Dom Hutcheson was superb as Kenickie. The partnership of Dan Partridge and Martha Kirby was brilliant as Danny and Sandy and Eloise Davies was fabulous as beauty school drop-out Frenchy.

Everyone loved Natalie Woods as Jan, with her beautiful vocals and expert dance moves. But the whole company were amazing.

Throw in beloved songs, including Summer Nights,Greased Lightnin’Hopelessly Devoted To You and You’re The One That I Want, and we knew we were onto a winner.

And then of course there was heart throb Peter Andre as Teen Angel (well he IS the one that we want!).

The already animated audience whipped itself into a positive frenzy as he took to the stage, resplendent in white, with angel wings.

He was funny, brilliant and a great extra to an already fun-filled and frantic production.

Grease is definitely the word!

Grease at The New Theatre, Oxford until Saturday. atgtickets.com

Sarah Edwards

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