Grease review, Nov 2015 - Newbury Weekly News

Hopelessly devoted to GreaseSlick and snazzy, BATS’ stunning mega mix was a real crowd-pleaser

I have been involved in, and watched, many productions of Grease and it never ceases to amaze me of the popularity and endurance' of this musical, with its fluffy storyline and bubblegum music - though, granted, there is a bit of grit in the dialogue.

But let's face it, you're a right stick- in-the-mud if you don't find Greased Lightnin', Summer Lovin' or You're the One That I Want fun. For Grease to take flight in 2015, it needs a cast zinging with charisma from first to last. Fortunately; BATS had this in spades, and from the first rousing reunion chorus and the fabulous Grease is the Word opening sequence, it was obvious that director and choreographer Angus Jacobs and an energetic and talented cast were going to deliver a treat.

The too-cool-for-school gang the T-Birds, the Pink Ladies and the ensemble had endless energy and provided first-class entertainment with their harmonies and slick moves. In fact, for me, the dancing and choreography were a real highlight of the show.

Principals delivered impressively - Craig Saunder's Danny.Zuko was full of swagger and Rhianon Mone effectively portrayed Sandy Dumbrowski's mutation from ingenue to siren. Joe Humberstone (Kenickie) gave us an excellent vocal in Greased Lightnin' and the rest of the gang - Liam Brelsforth (Roger) Max Harwood ( Sonny) and Austen Champion (Doody) - were rock solid, Jade Hollingshead's Jan was so lively; adorable and memorable, Chloe Ballard's Rizzo was charismatic and full of sarcasm and attitude, Kirsty Bennett gave us a delightful Frenchy; while Millie Stringer's Marty was strong and sexy.

Memorable smaller roles included the very amusing (cross-dressed) Gary J. Myers as Miss Lynch, Shaun Blake's brilliantly nerdy Eugene, Zoe Blackall's endearingly irritating Patty Simcox and Bryn Hughes' engaging and well-sung Teen Angel. A few accents were a bit dodgy; but the cast were well-rehearsed and slick. Musical director Julie Dance and- her band must be-congratulated for the musical quality.

A great set, colourful costumes and snazzy lighting all added to the spectacle and the final mega mix was stunning and the ultimate crowd-pleaser.

This was BATS on top form.

Trevor Dobson

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