Grease meets high standards

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Alexandra Musical Society

“Grease”

Alexandra Memorial Hall

Sunday July 9

By Yvonne O’Hara

It is always a pleasure to attend the Alexandra Musical Society’s shows and Grease lived up to expectations. The more than 50 cast and crew members, directed by Matt van den Yssel, have spent many hundreds of hours putting the show together and the result was stunning. Although you could tell there were a few nerves, which is to be expected, the show was well worth seeing, and judging by the comments I heard leaving the theatre, many audience members also thought the same.

Although Grease, the play, differs significantly in format from Grease, the movie, that in no way detracted from the quality of the performances and the skills of the actors. There were the same characters and the same songs, all of which are part of the Grease tradition, and the audience loved it.

It was like seeing old friends.

One of the many highlights was the wonderful singing of the angel, played by Wayne Enoka, who made the “Go back to high school” sequence memorable, as did the dancers who looked a little cautious as they moved around the stage in high heels and even higher curler headpieces.

Danika Gillbert’s dancing as Chacha, was energetic and outstanding. She was also the choreographer, and the musical direction was by Sam van Betuw. Together they, and Mr van den Yssel, achieved exactly what they set out to do, craft a wonderful show.

I was also delighted to see the Morris Minor and loved the “Greased Lightning” sequence.

The clean and simple set design made the scene changes fast and effective, and the use of photos on screens at the back of the stage worked well to set the scenes.

Having the musicians on their high perch above the stage was unusual, and had the added bonus of making the audience aware of them, and that they were providing live music, rather than a recording. Stars Hunter Hill as Danny and Anna Munro, as Sandy, really sparked together and their singing was a pleasure to listen to.

Jake Galletly, as Doody, made a wonderful crooner, and fellow T-birds Tom Aitcheson as Kenickie, Kaidi Saw as Sonny and Blake Luff as Roger, also sang and danced well, while giving a well-crafted tough but vulnerable image of the 1950s’ bad boys.

The Pink Ladies, Morgan Potter, Hannah Anderson, Natalija Krsinic and Sarah Vilela, playing Rizzo, Frenchie, Marty and Jan, counterpointed the boys’ tough-guy performance with style, attitude and flair. Morgan Potter’s portrayal of the tough but vulnerable and hurt Rizzo was another highlight, and her performance was well crafted.

Each couple had the chance to perform a duet, which showcased their skills beautifully, and even Patty Simcox and Eugene Felnic (played by Holly Taucher and Jackson Banks) played their vulnerable, “geeky” parts well. I thought the whole show was brilliant, and well done to the society for presenting yet another top production.