Photos – Belinda Strodder www.dancephotography.net.au
Fun, fun, fun – til somebody takes the T-Birds and Pink Ladies away.
The Beach Boys’ classic isn’t on the song list for Grease 2, but it would fit in well, because fun is what the whole show is about.
Based (of course) on the 1982 movie, this piece of musical theatre never made any pretentions about being anything more than a feel-good hour or two of fun, full of colour, dance, song – and lots of thrusting hips.
The storyline, such as it is, is the reverse of the original Grease, in which Olivia Newton-John has to unlearn her goody-two-shoes ways to capture John Travolta’s black-clad heart.
In Grease 2, nerdy Michael falls for bad girl Stephanie, who laughs at him until he gets raunchy with leather and motorbike – except he’s allowed to question the ethics of selling out and finally be accepted for who he is before they all live happily ever after, which I’ve always thought is a minor blow for wimmin’s rights.
That aside, the yarn is only an excuse for tying together some great singalong hits and putting on a great show of dance, which is exactly what you get in the Robbie Carmellotti and Drew Downing production at Chapel off Chapel.
Melaniee Ott and Josh Piterman both rise to the challenge of their extreme lead characters and play them with great gusto, matched by the rest of the talented cast. Incidentally, Piterman’s wife, Hayley, is also in the production as Sharon – their first performance together.
The choreography, shared between Joel Anderson and Nadia Gianinotti, is slick and uses the limited space well, while the Carmellotti/Downing stage adaptation, directed Karl McNamara, does a good job of translating a full-length movie to a two-part concert.
The pace is so fast, it almost seems rushed in parts, but the pure joy with which the crew performs glosses over any imperfections – and they coped brilliantly with a couple of technical issues on the opening night, which included microphones and trousers coming unstuck.
Liam Kilfour, as Goose, deserves a medal for dancing a whole song with his trousers slowly descending to his ankles, and Henry Brett, as Davey, revealed a comedic talent that will make him a name worth watching.
Likewise, Gemma Purdy, as Paulette, has the voice of an angel that almost stole the show.
A great night out for the whole family – so long as parents aren’t embarrassed by the high-school obsession with sexual frustration.
Grease 2: Live in Concert
Adapted by Robbie Carmellotti and Drew Downing
Director Karl McNamara
Choreographers Joel Anderson and Nadia Gianinotti
Venue: Chapel off Chapel,
Dates: October 12-22 at 8:30pm, matinee Saturdays 3:30pm
Tickets: $39 Full, $35 Concession, Group 10+, $140 Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) (+Transaction Fee)
Bookings: (03) 8290 7000 | www.chapeloffchapel.com.au