During the penultimate week of term, Loughborough University’s Stage Society put on a three-night run of the all time classic musical, Grease, at Cope Auditorium. Expectedly, night one had a completely packed audience, and there was even a live band entertaining those waiting for the show to start. Throughout the night, the band played backing music to the feel good tunes we all know and love, and kept the audience amused during set changes with short upbeat melodies.
Although the show had an expectedly rocky start with music overpowering some of the actors microphones as well as a few minor lighting errors, normal in the first night of a production, this was quickly forgotten and compensated for by the commitment of actors to their roles, and strong costume and set design. The audience was successfully transported into the 1950s, from the stereotypical ‘class of 59’ sign right down to the iconic leather jackets and pink lady bombers Grease is known for. This realistic atmosphere was added to by use of American accents throughout, a fun extra element that gave the production a higher perceived level of difficulty. Also, the creation of their very own Grease Lightning car was a special treat for the audience and only added to the intricate detail, effort and thought that obviously went into the show.
The story was really well adapted to stage, with a lot of interesting ways that actors travelled in and out of the set. The audience was interacted with and stayed fully immersed throughout, clapping and cheering at the end of each song, and during the 20 minute interval discussing how well they thought the show was going. Personally, I always like humour in any kind of stage production I see and this one didn’t leave me disappointed. There were a lot of witty one-liners, unfortunate incidents and funny character relationships to get caught up in, such as Eugene and Patty’s and Frenchie and Doody’s, and especially great moments from – my favourite character of the night – Jan.
However the stand out elements of the show came in the form of song and dance. As the fundamental elements of the production, they were my most anticipated. Would the actor’s voices blend well together? Would everyone dance in-sync with one another? Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything too adventurous, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of the harmonies synced up perfectly and the dancing was vigorously rehearsed. Although there were the typical Grease hip thrusts and shimmies, the prom scene imagined something out of Strictly Come Dancing. There were flips, splits and lifts galore! To say the choreography was advanced would be a massive understatement; it has to be seen to be believed. The cast handled the dance numbers really well both as independent characters, such as in the awkwardly hilarious prom dance scene, and as group acts. Group dances were consistently well timed and went well with each song included in the two-hour production. Overall, it was impressive that every actor involved naturally kept in time with the music, never looking lost.
As for the singing, there was a perfect balance between solo and group performances. The entire cast had a great vocal range and didn’t falter in any of the songs. Solo singers definitely held their own on stage well and with relationships and romance at the heart of the production, it was only natural that there would be highs a lows. The actors were fantastic at portraying a range of emotions through song, and were generally great choices for each of their roles – definitely cast to their strengths. Each coupling had believable chemistry but most of all seemed to really enjoy their time across the whole night.
The end of the show held the most iconic scene including the famous ‘tell me about it, stud’ line and gave an uplifting resolution to an enjoyable performance. Grease is such an enjoyable musical because of its massive reliance on high school clichés and gender stereotypes, a light hearted atmosphere that can make anyone chuckle. The show is definitely not to be missed, and I would recommend it as a great end-of-term treat to take the edge off all of your coursework struggles.
Luckily there are still tickets available for the show for tonight (Friday 4th December) and Saturday 5th December! They can be bought on the door at Cope Auditorium at 7.30pm or in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – tickets are £5 NUS and £8 Non-NUS.
Thanks for a great show guys!