Great musical still hits the spot

Robin Cousins as the Teen Angel in Grease.
Robin Cousins as the Teen Angel in Grease.

GREASE has been around for decades now but it remains the daddy of the High School musical genre.

The love story of Danny and Sandy and their friends at Rydell High, coupled with those unforgettable songs such as You’re the One That I Want, Hopelessly Devoted, Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’ etc has delighted audiences through the years but any fears that it all might have become a bit stale are quickly dismissed by a touring production which reached Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall.

There are many hard acts to follow in the leads, not least, of course, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, but Danny Bayne and Carina Gillespie excel and Kate Somerset How (Rizzo) also impresses with a powerful, rangy, voice.

And then there is Teen Angel Robin Cousins. We know he can skate (Olympic gold 1980, head judge on ITV’s Dancing on Ice etc) but can he sing?

The answer is an unqualified yes. Cousins long ago made the transition from ice to stage and he gives us a lovely hammed-up, cameo version of Beauty School Dropout in his fourth stint in Grease, the third on tour after a residency in the West End. There is a reprise and a few nifty steps thrown in during the finale.

Talking of steps, the dance routines, as you would expect from Arlene Phillips, are superb with the standout Hand Jive in the Vince Fontaine contest touching the heights.

Film buffs might spot a few changes such as the absence of the car race and a lesser role for the school head but these detract nothing and allow time for a pulsating curtain call, delighting an audience including some who were around in 1959 and teenagers thoroughly enjoying music based on the pre-Beatles era.