Review Round Up: Grease, Dominion Theatre

We take a closer look at what critics have had to say so far about this new production of the classic musical.

(c)Manuel Harlan

The Guardian: *** “Nikolai Foster’s production is brightly entertaining and blasts out room-filling energy in its big dance numbers by choreographer Arlene Phillips, with tight formations of sharp, rhythmic 50s motifs.”

WhatsOnStage: **** “Foster’s fast-moving production makes a convincing case for the grittier elements of Jacobs and Casey’s script, and doesn’t shy away from tackling the now-problematic sexual politics head on. There are even shades of West Side Story in the gang scenes: the T-Birds of the movie and the last revival were randy but essentially harmless, but the Burger Palace Boys here have a troubling, potentially violent edge, especially with regard to their jawdroppingly unreconstructed attitudes to the opposite sex.”

London *** “But if this Grease loses the thread of its boy-meets-girl plot, it’s much more successful as a paean to teen friendships. From the eager back and forth of the indelible “Summer Nights” to the slumber parties and school dances, these are recognisably kids who take solace in and want to fit in with their peers, while also figuring out who they might become after high school. “We Go Together” is a jubilant ensemble triumph.”

The Reviews Hub: ** 1/2 “It’s a shame, because there is some valour in the attempt to preserve the original stage production of Grease, rather than it becoming a restaging of the film. Perhaps such an attempt would work better in a smaller venue than the Dominion Theatre’s enormous stage, which is not best suited to moments of introspection or intimate tension.”

Evening Standard: ** “Likewise dance routines and vocals for Summer Nights and You’re the One That I Want are lacklustre and low-powered, and the cast sounded half a beat behind the orchestra during the latter number the night I was there.”

Broadway World: **** “Grease The Musical is everything that you look for in a lighthearted night at the theatre: music that you want to sing and dance along to, strong performances, and a lot of sparkle.”

The Arts Desk: **** “The energetic dancing by the boys and girls of Rydell High, the strength of the harmonies and the warm familiarity of the tune builds two bridges – one back to the movie, the other across the fourth wall. For all its flaws, this new production recognises that, perhaps in big musicals more than any other genre outside pantomine, the audience must be made complicit in the night’s entertainment.

Theatre Weekly: “Grease The Musical is a safe bet for audiences looking for a truly feel-good show in the summer nights ahead.  There’s a certain comfort in going in knowing, and having memories associated to, most of the songs; and as the audience enjoy the finale megamix there is no doubting that when it comes to beloved musicals, this is the one that they want.”

West End Best Friend:*** “There are also many West End debuts within the cast and we would love to congratulate all of these new performers on their achievements. The talent in the entire ensemble is electric and absolutely full to the brim with potential.”

All That Dazzles: ***** “It is always hard to bring back a show that is so loved across multiple generations – it is always going to be open to comparison against the version you know and love. Wirth this production, they have got the balance right – making the audience feel nostalgic with all the key moments they know and love, while bringing in new elements to make it feel fresh.”

The Upcoming: **** “Nikolai Foster directs an entertaining and well-paced piece. For some of the songs, the cast begins with small movements, fully grooving only towards the end, which risks holding back the excitement. However, We Go Together and the school dance prove to be excitingly choreographed by Arlene Phillips. For some privileged audiences, DJ Vince Fontaine is humorously played by Peter Andre.”

iNews: ** “Its first London cast was led by a young Richard Gere as Danny Zuko; more recently it’s been a vehicle for TV talent show winners. This time, in Nikolai Foster’s production, we’ve got Peter Andre, playing hip-swivelling DJ Vince Fontaine and fantasy figure Teen Angel, and Jason Donovan, who will step in as Teen Angel at selected performances from June. Frankly, you’d have to be a hopelessly devoted fan for their presence to make this weary trip to plastic Nostalgiaville worthwhile.”

Pocket Size Theatre: ***** “This is a really great production and whilst it may not be what audiences are expecting, it’s a much-needed revival that the West End needs right now to inject some life into it. An absolute mind-blowing cast and it’ll be one I will definitely be returning to!”

Musical Theatre Review: *** “The eight-piece band under MD Dan Glover punch their weight in the pit, though personal preference would have been to have them less overwhelmed by the all-enveloping sound system. The vivacious and inexhaustible ensemble, all characters in their own right, carry this show through to a happy ending, aided and abetted by choreography that is efficient rather than inspiring. It no doubt left the audience happy, even if the intention went rather awry.”

London Theatre Reviews: **** “If we can get past the oddities that encompass the Grease script, this is an absolute must-see. This show sets out to be a joyous, energetic and exciting few hours with weighty production value and it delivers on all fronts and more. What more can you ask for? So hand jive your way over to the Dominion and marvel at the talent on show. What are you dip da-dip doo-wop waiting for?”

Grease continues to play at the Dominion Theatre. To book tickets click here or visit: From the Box OfficeLast Minute.comTheatre Tickets Theatre Direct or Love

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