BY NGAIRE WARNER
It’s hard not to be drawn into the vibe of the toe tapping, rock ‘n’ roll hits of the 1950s, and the opening night of Nelson Youth Theatre Company’s production of Grease had the audience literally stomping to the well-loved tunes.
With over 30 all-singing, all-dancing cast on stage for many of the bigger musical numbers, there were plenty of moments of high energy.
Set in an American high school in the 1950s, the story captures the hopes and fears of teenage relationships.
Director Richard Carruthers has cast two teams, allowing more of Nelson’s youth to showcase their talent.
The standout performances for me, were that of Pink lady Jan, played by Madison Kilworth, and Lucy Munro in the role of Patty. Their characterisations were consistent throughout and both displayed some fine comedic talent.
Jan’s offsider, Roger (Matthew Edgar) of the T-Birds, had us cheering as he entertained with his vocals and slick moves, and I liked how Carruthers drew out the budding relationship between these two characters, as well as that of Doody, played admirably by Ollie Bellis, and the adorable Frenchy (Brooklyn Saunders).
Strong vocal performances by Molly Wilkins as Pink Lady Marty, Seth Blackburn as Danny, and Mackenzie Gardner as the sassy Rizzo, led us through the many highs and lows of teenage love.
Caitlin Brennan gave us the right mix of fresh and innocent in her portrayal of Sandy.
There were some small technical issues with the microphones, which I’m sure can be rectified. The costuming and choreography were true to the era and the set was simple but effective.
The Teen Angel (Abby Wratten) arriving on hoverboard added a splash of the modern – and it worked.
So, shake off the winter blues and jive into spring with a night out at Grease.