Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

Grease The Musical - Review

Home > Melbourne > Family | Theatre | Theatre Reviews
by All About Entertainment (subscribe)
Freelance entertainment, food, and travel writer. Feel free to follow my Facebook page All About Entertainment.
Update April 9th 2014
Grease will return to Melbourne for an encore summer season from 11 December 2014 at the The Regent Theatre.

Three Decades Of Summer Lovin'
Grease Melbourne Perth Singapore Adelaide
Photo: Grease The Musical Australia

When the directors of the movie Grease were looking for an actor to play the role of Danny Zuko in the 1970's, they approached Henry Winkler aka Fonzie from the TV Happy Days. He turned down the role as he didn't want to be typecast, and admits the decision was one of his biggest regrets. The movie catapulted John Travolta's career and the was an international hit. Winkler's response to his decision? "That's why John Travolta went on to buy his own plane and I just went home."

John Travolta Henry Winkler Grease
Henry Winkler regrets not taking up the role of Danny Zuko in the movie Grease. Photo:

Fast forward three decades and the movie is still as popular today as it was in the 70's. We've all grown to adore the fictional characters - wholesome and pure Sandy the new girl in town, handsome chick-magnet Danny, the cool hot-rodding T-Birds, sarcastic and tough Rizzo, the gum-snapping, hip-shaking Pink Ladies, angelic saviour Teen Angel, and egotistical, womanising radio disk jockey Vince Fontaine. What is it about these characters that have us in a frenzy we can't let them go? We connect and relate to them, it's that simple.

Grease The Musical Australia, Grease Adelaide, Grease Melbourne, Grease Perth, Grease Singapore
The Photo: Grease Is The Word Jeff Busby

With numerous revivals, arena spectacular concerts, school and community productions, this is a much loved musical as it is a movie. Following the journey of senior class students at Rydell High, the year 1959, it focuses on friendship, love, acceptance, and fulfilling dreams. Mixed with a great storyline and timeless songs, the production has come a long way since it opened in London in the 70's with a then unknown Richard Gere in the role of Danny Zuko.

Grease Musical Review
Opening night in Melbourne Sunday 6 January 2014. Photo: Grease Is The Word Facebook

It's no wonder the latest production of Grease currently performing around Australian theatres is attracting audiences in droves. I attended opening night in Melbourne, the red carpet rolled out, Grease's pink promotional car parked proudly in front of Her Majesty's Theatre, and the who's who of Melbourne were there in full support.

Grease Adelaide Grease Melbourne.
The red carpet opening. Photo: Grease Is The Word Facebook

Sitting between Nuala Hafner from Channel 10's Wake Up Breakfast Show, and talented singer Silvie Paladino, we felt like excited teenagers waiting for the lights to dim at our first teen idol concert.

Nuala Hafner and Betty Samis Grease opening Melbourne
Nuala Hafner and I by the 'hot pink car' outside Her Majesty's Theatre opening night Melbourne

I've seen many productions of Grease, and this by far is the best. It's a hit from the minute Miss Lynch (Val Lehman) walks on stage and interacts with the audience to join in her 'singing class'. When the band perched high up on stage began to play, it was thunderous as King Kong's roar.

Bring on Danny and Sandy to share a brief interlude, the cast breaking out into Grease Is The Word, and the audience is trying their hardest to stay seated whilst clapping along grinning from ear to ear. Yes folks, this is Grease The Musical and we love it.

Grease the musical tickets Singapore Melbourne Adelaide. Grease Adelaide Singapore Melbourne
Val Lehman plays the role of Miss Lynch and gets the audience to sing. Photo: Grease Is The Word Jeff Busby

This production has been reworked for the best in my opinion. It moves at a fast pace, with some changes made to the original score to bring it in line with the movie - and to what audiences expect. About time I say. Hallelujah!

Cast of Grease The Musical Australia. Grease in Adelaide. Grease in Perth.
Cast of Grease. Photo: Grease Is The Word. Jeff Busby

The original production is slightly different to the movie. Back then it seemed fine, but three decades on with its popularity soaring to record highs, audiences want to hear all the hit songs and the movie played out to them live on stage. This is how Grease should be in the 21st century.

Rob Mills Grease
Photo: Rob Mills plays Danny. Photo: Grease Is The Word Jeff Busby

Rob Mills as chick magnet Danny Zuko is brilliant - there's no disputing he's perfect for this role. His voice suits the music, he's charismatic, handsome, and has that boyish charm similar to John Travolta. He's come a long way since Australian Idol, and found his niche in musical theatre working pretty damn hard to get there too.

He's a stayer in the industry and genuine nice guy - and nice guys get my vote. Working on the Australian Idol tour in Adelaide I drove 'Millsy' and the Idols in Adelaide. Bumping into him a few times in Melbourne he remembers. Success hasn't gone to his head, and his performance on stage reflects this - he's a star!

Gretel Scarlett Grease
Gretel Scarlet plays Sandy. Photo: Matt Bell

Gretel Scarlett as Sandy has tough shoes to fill, which she does quite flawlessly. Her training at WAAPA, the recipient of numerous awards and many theatre credits show on stage. She made the songs her own, and looked absolutely smashing in the final scene - 'skinny envy' - sigh.

Lucy Maunder Rizzo Grease The Musical
Lucy Maunder plays Rizzo. Photo: Matt Bell

Lucy Maunder as Rizzo is a knock-out! She struts, she's rebellious, vulnerable, says it as it is, has attitude, and stands her own ground.

Todd McKenney Grease
Todd McKenney plays Teen Angel. Photo: Grease Is The Word Jeff Busby

The talented Todd McKenney as Teen Angel steals the show. Hamming it up, and briefly stopping the band during his number Beauty School Dropout, (I won't spoil it) adding his 'personal touch' is the highlight. He plays and teases the audience right into the palm of his hands like an absolute pro. Meeting Todd after the show, he was happy to chat and pose for snaps - another nice guy vote from me.

Betty Samis and Todd McKenney Grease Opening Melbourne
Todd McKenney takes time out to chat after the show.

Bert Newton Grease
Bert Newton plays Vince Fontaine. Photo: Grease Is The Word Jeff Busby

Bert Newton needs no introduction. Audiences erupt the minute he steps foot on stage, he can do no wrong and they can't get enough of him. He's quite comfortable in the role of Vince Fontaine, and considering he's used to 'spinning the hits' it's a walk in the park for him. He's as smooth as a glass of Penfolds Grange.

Anthony Callea Grease
Anthony Callea plays Johnny Casino. Photo: Grease Is The Word Jeff Busby

Anthony Callea shines as Johnny Casino. Although not a demanding role, he's no stranger to the stage - and he works it. A fantastic mover, brilliant singer, the audience clapped, cheered and lapped up every minute of it.

Cast of Grease. Grease Australian cast.
Cast of Grease. Photo: Matt Bell

The cast isn't complete without the T-Birds, Pink Ladies and the dance ensemble. They complement each other, the chemistry is just right and each character is highlighted respectively.

Stephen Mahy is ideal for the role of Kenickie. Having seen him in the Jersey Boys he's going from strength to strength. He rips into Greased Lightning with enormous intensity, with no disputing he's on a mission to get his 'baby' (dream car) on the road.

Grease The Musical Australia
Photo: Grease Is The Word Jeff Busby

The show is polished, snappy, tight and slick. The costumes magnificent and in keeping with the era, the sets and lighting cleverly designed, and the choreography sensational making this an outstanding production.

Rob Mills Gretel Scarlett Grease The Musical Grease Is The Word Australia. Opening night Grease Melbourne
Rob Mills and Gretel Scarlett. Photo: Grease Is The Word Jeff Busby

The setting of the final scene is a breath of fresh air. Without saying too much - it's the perfect change.

Streamers and 'pops' added to the electric atmosphere while three generations were up on their feet clapping and singing along with the cast during the final curtain call. Even after two and a half hours the energy was as upbeat as it was at the start.

Grease will always be a winner.

Grease dates:

Melbourne until the 30 March 2014.

Singapore from 25 April 2014.

Perth from 21 June 2014.

Adelaide from 3 August 2014.

Grease will return to Melbourne for an encore summer season from 11 December 2014 at the The Regent Theatre. The popular all-star cast will be back ready to party during Melbourne's summer nights, and it's going to be a blast!

Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  57
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? It's Grease! Need I say more
Where: Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Singapore
Cost: Various
Your Comment
Great article. Can't wait to see it.
by Coffee Break With Belinda (score: 2|403) 2040 days ago
Will be visiting Melbourne to see Strictly Ballroom?
by Coffee Break With Belinda (score: 2|403) 1682 days ago
If you get a chance go and see Strictly Ballroom. It was fabulous.
by Coffee Break With Belinda (score: 2|403) 1672 days ago
More Melbourne articles
Articles from other cities
Foodi Photoh Classie
by EricaL on 13/12/2014
by Coffee Break With Belinda on 10/04/2014
Top Events
Popular Articles