GREASE is the word!
It really is the word that’s on everyone’s lips as In Yer Space theatre company prepare to bring the hit musical to the Gaiety Theatre stage this month.
‘Grease is one of those musicals that is difficult to tire of,’ explained director Colin Snell. ‘It remains infectious, it’s vibrant, dynamic and the songs are now classics. It is really the original high school musical.’
‘The last time it was done on the island was some years ago so it seemed an excellent choice to resurrect and with a cast of highly committed musical theatre performers from the island – a wonderful opportunity to showcase their talents.’
He added: ‘Grease was voted the most popular musical of all time and certainly has lost none of its popularity since it first appeared on stage in the 60s. Generations of people maintain their infatuation with it. The last time I did a production of Grease was with Jeff Hordley [who plays Cain Dingle in Emmerdale] in the role of Danny when he was only 17.’
He explained: ‘When Grease first appeared on stage it really was ahead of its time in many ways – for the first time it seemed that the youth of America was being given its own voice. Grease itself is symbolic of disenchanted and frustrated youth – it is almost anarchic in lots of ways.
‘I am very keen on story in musical theatre and what I hope we have managed to do is not simply string a lot of well-known songs together with some dance routines – you might as well do karaoke. It is about friendship, relationships, education, youthfulness, romance, the pain of growing up and naivety and about a growing acceptance that youth might very well have something to say that is worth listening to.
‘Obviously it remains a lot of fun and the cast is strong enough and talented enough to ensure that the evening achieves the right balance.
‘I am also a strong believer in making Grease our own; the cast need to take ownership of it and have certainly done that. There are some surprisingly touching moments.’
Unlike many versions of the musical, this version by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey is very much a show by adults and not children. ‘It is an amateur production with professional production values,’ explained Colin.
Danny is played by Liam Kaneen while Kathryn Power takes on Sandy. ‘This is my first lead role which is exciting but the fact it’s Danny in Grease makes it even more amazing,’ said Liam. ‘The challenge has been to make the role my own. Working on my dance moves has also proved a real challenge. But I’ve loved every minute of it. The cast and crew have been brilliant and rehearsals have been energetic. Audiences are in for a real treat.’
Kathryn added: ‘I grew up watching Grease the movie – sometimes it was on a constant loop. My sisters and I loved all the songs, costumes, dancing and of course the makeover, so naturally I’m really excited to be playing Sandy. My biggest challenge has also been getting away from the movie interpretation of the character that we all know so well and finding my own way to play the role. In the stage musical version, Sandy is not so much of a pushover as people might expect. She is made of strong stuff and stands up for herself, although her cheerleading skills leave a little to be desired.’
In conclusion, Colin said: ‘There can’t be many people who won’t come away remembering the first time they saw Grease. And there may be a few discovering the stage show for the first time. Rather like the film, the whole thing remains timeless. And given the current gloomy weather, it’s bound to make audiences come out having had a fantastic time and a trip down memory lane.’
The show runs between November 23 and December 1, with performances starting at 7.30pm and Saturday matinee performances at 2pm. Tickets start at £18.50, with concessions available. Call 600555.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west