Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 1 March 2015

Review: Grease still the word for hordes of hopelessly-devoted fans

Grease started a five-night run in the Grand Opera House last night. Would the audience mimic Sandy's affections for her summer love Danny, and become Hopelessly Devoted to the Ulster Operatic Company's staging of a long-beloved show?

Thankfully the UOC didn't disappoint a raucous opening night crowd, and the constituents of a faithful slathering of Grease – Matthew Blaney's snake-hipped Danny, a demure Sandy and gutsy, brittle Rizzo – were present and correct.

Claire Howell sang beautifully as Sandy, dutifully vamping it up with the help of red stilettos and shiny leggings in the final act. Her henchwomen the Pink Ladies were terrific especially Annika Graham as Rizzo and Rachael Stewart as the pink-wigged Frenchy.

There was fantastic energy in the ensemble numbers like Born To Hand-Jive and We Go Together – and the hard-working chorus deserves tons of credit.

At times the stage looks a little bare – but some imaginative flourishes, like the cardboard car facades for Stranded at the Drive In, go some way towards making up for it.

Even though there's some naughty content and innuendo, Grease is sufficiently innocent and fun to delight anyone from six to 80. It's been doing so for at least 40 years.

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