REVIEW: MUSE’s Grease
The theatrical folks from MUSE haven’t simply recreated the iconic film but have built upon this familiarity with more singing, more smoochin, and more Converse sneakers.
Laura Balboni’s clearly brilliant direction of such a talented cast was nothing short of an absolute delight. They have expertly blended the karaoke duet favourites you know and love, as well as some extra musical numbers that will have you putting on your poodle skirt and dancing shoes in no time.
There’s an undeniable abundance of vocal talent from each of the soloists. But what lifts this show is its continuous energy. The choreography was clearly well rehearsed and brilliantly executed, allowing the T-Birds to maintain their effortlessly cool attitude, even during the oh-so-catchy Grease Lightning: full credit for this must go to the amazingly talented Stephanie Troost. It’s obvious that a ridiculous amount of time, energy and love went into every detail of this production. All the partner dancing, and even the bigger numbers were slicker than Tom Pegler’s greased hairdo.
“Tell me more, tell me more” you say? Well, if you insist!
Crowd favourite was Teen Angel David Collins who fiercely knocked Mariah Carey off her gilded throne as Queen Diva with his sassy, pitch-perfect performance of Beauty School Dropout.
Jasper Bruce brought the charm and pizzazz as radio-presenter Vince Fontaine, reminiscent of an over-caffeinated infomercial salesman... in the best way possible.
And it goes without saying, Gigi Hadid and her girlsquad have nothin’ on the charming Pink Ladies, played by Ellie Jones, Lucy Allen, Phoebe Clark and Rielly Dickson, who remind us that bomber jackets are a fashion statement that are here to stay.
Isobel Rose’s powerful vocals, even amid an empty stage, were enough to captivate audiences and give us chills that just kept multiplying.
On a few occasions, the outdated jokes didn’t seem to connect to modern audiences and fell flat, but of course the ensemble could only work with the words handed to them. At times, the slower-paced dialogue could break audience attention, but these were followed by upbeat, high-energy dance numbers to win back the crowd.
Every cast member genuinely seemed to be having a blast on stage as their hand-jived their way through this iconic teen classic. The ensemble hardly faded into the background with engaging character development and boundless enthusiasm throughout the entire production, and special mention of course must go to Oscar Balle-Bowness for his unfaulting musical direction that kept the entire show alive and dancing.
Although the take-home message of the time-old tale of Grease may be questionable, MUSE has yet again delivered a vibrant show, where extraordinary production and natural talent go together like shoobop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom.
If you’re peachy keen for a night of retro vibes, Grease is the word this Thursday to Saturday night, 7:30pm at the Seymour Centre. Tickets are available here.