Grease still packing the houses

Grease, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne.

WHEN they did a survey of the 100 most popular films of all time Grease came top and no wonder, who could forget the iconic couple John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John looking years younger than her 32 years, especially in her figure hugging black leggings.

Now’ 34 years on, Grease is still as popular as was demonstrated by the packed house at the Congress Theatre on Monday night. This is the show directed by David Gilmore and choreographed by Arlene Phillips which first saw the light of day in ITV’s search for Danny Zuko, Grease is the Word.

Eastbourne is very lucky to have the overall winner Danny Byrne playing the part he played in London’s West End for over two years. He was a worthy winner as he is superb in the part.

Playing his love interest Sandy is Carina Gillespie who has a lovely voice but my only reservation is she looks too old when she is playing the innocent young High School student Danny fell in love with on the beach.

But overall the casting is brilliant, they have got it just right. Lauren Hood makes an excellent Frenchie as do the rest of the Pink Ladies.

What is so good about this production is having a live Teen Angel instead of the hologram they usually have. It was a stroke of genius to cast Louis Walsh’s favourite X-Factor contestant Mary Byrne in the role and she got the loudest applause of the night when she came on.

Despite a technical hitch in the first act when they had to bring the Safety Curtain down to push the car on for Greased Lightening when the revolving stage failed this was soon forgotten in this fast-moving show.

People were tapping their feet, clapping and singing along to all the familiar songs. I was amazed at Carina’s slender figure when she went from “Sandra Dee” to the sexy Sandy in the black Aleggings and this is when she came into her own.

If you have never seen Grease don’t miss out, if you have seen it go and see it again, you won’t be disappointed.

Amanda Wilkins