June 12, 2021

Grease was ‘Lightning’ fast

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By Georgina Wilcox

The Cayman Drama Society’s latest production at The Prospect Playhouse is the musical “Grease”.

I have to admit I groaned when I saw the news from the CDS that “Grease” was going to be staged. I had seen five different stage productions of “Grease” and that did not include the TV production and the movie. Three of the stage productions I had seen here.

I, therefore, did not accept the first invitation from the CDS to go to the preview last Tuesday but after prompting I did.

What could possibly be different about this production I had already seen?

As it turned out – A LOT.

For one thing alone was the sheer pace of the performances. It was frantic without being so fast you couldn’t see anything. It also mixed movie footage, shot here in Cayman with the same actors, at the beginning and for the Grease Lightning race. They also showed a really old film at the drive-in movie scene at the same time the actors were on stage having their argument.

The Grease Lightning car made three appearances on the stage. Yes, it was a real car.

And there were understudies listed in the programme. I hope they all got to perform their roles at least one time.

There was also a LIVE BAND, who were prominent on stage the whole time.

I asked Director, Matthew Pellow, before the performance, why Grease and my reservations? He told me it was the fortieth* anniversary of the musical – now I really did feel old. He loved the show and that was obvious by his enthusiasm. His main cast were aged between fourteen and eighteen and he had not wanted a twenty year old plus playing the leads. Fifty youngsters turned up at the audition. He said that was a CDS record. Thirty six people were in the cast plus nine crew.

  • My sources say it is 47 but I may have misheard him. Checking again it is actually the fortieth anniversary of the MOVIE!

What did I think of the show?

First let me share with you what Joan Wilson, our Publisher thought.

“It was fantastic! The best show I have ever seen at The Playhouse. I felt I was one of the school kids. I didn’t want it to finish. I wish I could see it again.”

I can agree with most of what she said. This production is certainly one of the best of the crop I have seen and that also includes the professional ones.

The performance I saw was actually a rehearsal so I won’t nit pick with some of the technical problems that was obvious to my eyes and especially ears. The show was that good it didn’t spoil and it moved at such a pace in a blink it was gone.

As for performances I am not going to single out anyone. It would take too long. Suffice to say there was not one weak one. The huge majority of the cast were not familiar to me with one big exception. Dominic Wheaton in a cameo role as Vince Fontaine/Frankie Avalon. I won’t say he stole the show but he was certainly memorable.

Full marks to the live band under the maestro, Simon Donoghue. It really added to the show and made it different.

I cannot urge you to go and see it. Every performance is already sold out and was sold out days before the opening.

So much for my groaning at another “grease”.

Well done everyone and I now look forward to an other “Grease” before I fill my clogs with cement.

For those of you who do not know the story of “Grease”;:

“Named after the 1950s United States working-class youth subculture known as greasers, the musical is set in 1959 at fictional Rydell High School (based on William Howard Taft School in Chicago, Illinois and follows ten working-class teenagers as they navigate the complexities of peer pressure, politics, personal core values, and love.” – Wikipedia

The musical is written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.

In case you want to try your luck and get tickets see the flyer below:

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